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Feeling bad about feeling down is good for your mental health: study

Feeling bad about feeling down is good for your mental health: study
From Global News - August 11, 2017

Accepting and embracing your negative emotions can actually make you feel better in the long run, a new study out of UC Berkeley says.

According to researchers, feeling that pressure of needing to be constantly upbeat will not make you feel betterin fact, it will make you feel worse because of added stress.

READ MORE: Parents, this is how to tell your children youre dealing with depression, anxiety

We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health, senior author Iris Mauss of UC Berkeley said in a statement.

People who allow these feelings of sadness, disappointment and resentment run their course, the team found that these individuals are more likely to report fewer mood disorder symptoms than those who judge them and push them away, even after six months.

To find this out, researchers conducted three separate studies on several groups both in the lab and online. They factored in age, gender, socio-economic status and other demographic elements.

In the first study, over 1,000 participants filled out a survey. They were asked to rate how strongly they agreed with certain statements like, I tell myself I shouldnt be feeling the way that Im feeling. Those who didnt feel bad about feeling bad were more likely to show higher levels of well-being than their accepting counterparts. A

In another experiment, this time in a lab setting, 150 participants were given two minutes to prepare and deliver a three-minute recorded speech to a panel of judges. This was to represent a mock job application, to show off their communication skills and other relevant qualifications.

After the task was done, they were asked to rate their emotions about the event. And just as the research team expected, those who avoided negative feelings reported more distress.

For the final study, over 200 people were asked to journal their most taxing experiences for two weeks. When asked about their psychological health six months later, those who avoided expressing negative emotions reported more mood disorder symptoms than those who didnt shy away from revealing their emotions.

Its not clear why this dynamic exists, the team admits, but they have a theory.

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