Bad Moods May Be Good for You
Could being in a bad mood actually have psychological benefits? When we’re down, we’re often told to cheer up and be happy, but sadness is a normal part of being human.
According to Joseph Paul Forgas, a professor of psychology at the University of New South Wales writing on Live Science, normal emotions—including temporary sadness—are often treated as disorders in today’s society. Advertisers, self-help gurus, social media, and others present happiness and satisfaction as necessary life goals. But bad moods can help us adapt to and cope with everyday situations and challenges. Misfortune is inevitable and learning to accept and deal with hard times is an important skill.
Forgas wrote that feelings—good and bad—alert us to the state of the world around us and help us to respond appropriately to our situation. Negative emotions like fear, anger, disgust, and shame are important because they help us recognize, avoid, and overcome threatening and dangerous situations. Sadness enhances empathy and compassion, increases connectedness and moral sensibility, and improves communication and fairness. When it comes to mood, overall balance is better than an unrelenting pursuit of happiness.