Unpleasant Emotions Found to Be Essential to Happiness

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(Newswire.net — April 12, 2022) Orlando, FL — People often resort to various measures to ward off unpleasant emotions, which are linked with negative decisions and behaviors. However, in a study, it’s found that unpleasant emotions are actually important to achieving happiness. 

“Happiness is more than simply feeling pleasure and avoiding pain. Happiness is about having experiences that are meaningful and valuable, including emotions that you think are the right ones to have,” said lead researcher Maya Tamir, Ph.D., a psychology professor at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem. 

“All emotions can be positive in some contexts and negative in others, regardless of whether they are pleasant or unpleasant.”

It is worth noting this cross-sectional research included 2,324 university students in eight countries, namely the United States, Brazil, China, Germany, Ghana, Israel, Poland, and Singapore. 

The findings of this research were published in the Journal of Experimental Psychology General by the American Psychological Association. 

This is the first study to look into the link between happiness and experiencing wanted emotions, despite the emotions being unpleasant. 

In a general sense, participants wanted to experience more pleasant emotions and fewer unpleasant ones than they felt in their lives. However, it wasn’t always the case as 11 percent of the subjects wanted to feel fewer transcendent emotions like empathy and love,  than they experienced in daily life.

The findings have also shown that 10 percent had the desire to feel more unpleasant emotions, such as anger or hatred. It is worth mentioning there was only a small overlap between those groups.

“People want to feel very good all the time in Western cultures, especially in the United States,” Tamir said.

“Even if they feel good most of the time, they may still think that they should feel even better, which might make them less happy overall.”

Staying in good mood and mentally well is imperative for normal functioning on a daily basis. While it is not necessary to be always happy, it is vital to take measures helpful in reducing the risk of depression and anxiety.

In today’s troubling times of global health crisis, experts are increasingly urging everyone to not just protect their immune system but also their mental health. 

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