Embrace your negative emotions to cope with your blues

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New York, Aug 14 (IANS) Do you feel the pressure to put on a happy face, when you are actually sad? Beware, it can take a toll on your mental health, a study has showed.

The findings showed that the pressure to feel upbeat can make you feel downbeat, while embracing your darker moods without judging or trying to change them may help cope with their stress more successfully.

“We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health,” said Iris Mauss, Associate Professor at the University of California – Berkeley.

By contrast, people who commonly resist acknowledging their darkest emotions, or judge them harshly, can end up feeling more psychologically stressed.

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Those who generally allow such bleak feelings as sadness, disappointment and resentment to run their course reported fewer mood disorder symptoms than those who critique them or push them away, even after six months.

“Maybe if you have an accepting attitude toward negative emotions, you’re not giving them as much attention. But, if you’re constantly judging your emotions, the negativity can pile up,” Mauss said.

For the study, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, tested the link between emotional acceptance and psychological health.

The results showed that those who did not feel bad about their negative emotions showed higher levels of well-being than their lesser accepting peers. And, the group that typically avoids negative feelings reported more distress than their more accepting peers.

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“It turns out that how we approach our own negative emotional reactions is really important for our overall well-being,” explained Brett Ford, Assistant Professor at the University of Toronto.

–IANS

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