According to a recent study from UC Berkeley, “feeling bad about feeling bad can make you feel worse.”
Well, that makes sense — but it’s easier said than done, especially in a culture that increasingly lauds happiness as a virtue.
Just the appearance of happiness (smiling, extroversion, etc.) is often rewarded in social and professional environments. Though, the “grin and bear it” philosophy could be costing us our mental health.
Resistance is futile
The study looked at the connection between psychological health and emotional acceptance (being OK with not being OK) in 1.3k adults. They found that those who “resist acknowledging their darkest emotions” can end up being more stressed.
On the other hand, people who give themselves “license to sulk” reported fewer mood disorder symptoms in the long term. Kinda runs contrary to the wisdom that simply “putting on a happy face” can influence one’s internal feelings for the better.
It’s gotta come out somehow…
A separate study by researchers in the Netherlands suggests that even suppressing negative facial expressions can result in “emotional leakage,” causing us to perceive other aspects of our lives in a more negative light and “project” our own feelings onto the world around us.
In other words, grab a pint of Ben & Jerry’s and throw on your favorite tearjerker: a good mope is what the doctor ordered.