Accept negative emotions, don’t resist them to stay stress-free: study
People who resist their darkest emotions are more likely to experience stress than those who embrace their negative moods, revealed a study.
The revelations surfaced after researchers tested link between emotional acceptance and psychological health in more than 1,300 adults.
“We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health,” said Iris Mauss, an associate professor at University of California, Berkeley in the US.
As outcome of the research, it was found that people who usually resist acknowledging their darkest emotions end up feeling more psychologically stressed.
Contrary to it, people who allow such bleat feelings as sadness, disappointment and resentment to run their course reporter lesser mood disorder symptoms.
“It turns out that how we approach our own negative emotional reactions is really important for our overall well- being,” said Brett Ford, assistant professor at University of Toronto in Canada.
“People who accept these emotions without judging or trying to change them are able to cope with their stress more successfully,” Ford said.
Three studies were conducted on various groups both in the lab and online with respective to age, gender, socio-economic status, and other demographic variables.
The first study comprised more than 1,000 participants who filled out surveys rating how they agreed with such statements as “I tell myself I should not be feeling the way that I am feeling.”
It was found that those who, as a rule, did not feel bad about their negative emotions showed higher levels of well-being than their less accepting peers.
In the second study, more than 150 participants were tasked with delivering a three-minute videotaped speech to a panel of judges as part of a mock job application, touting their communication skills and other relevant qualifications. They were given two minutes to prepare.
After completing the task, participants rated their emotions about the ordeal. Researchers found that the group that typically avoids negative feelings reported more distress than their more accepting peers.
The final study comprised 200 people journelled about their most taxing experiences over a two-week period. When surveyed about their psychological health six months later, the diarists who typically avoided negative emotions reported more mood disorder symptoms than their nonjudgmental peers.
The study was published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.