How Negative Emotions May Increase Overall Happiness
A new international study suggests that even unpleasant emotions like anger and hatred can make people who desire those emotions and experience them in appropriate circumstances happier. It seems happiness is more than simply feeling pleasure.
The study involved about 2,300 college and university students from the United States, Brazil, China, Germany, Ghana, Israel, Poland, and Singapore. Researchers asked study participants questions about emotions they desired in their life experiences and about how they rated their overall happiness and life satisfaction.
The researchers discovered that, while most people desired pleasant emotions, the study participants had the greatest life satisfaction if the emotions they experienced matched those they desired – even when the emotions themselves were negative and unpleasant. They also found that about 11 percent of study participants desired less positive emotions, like love and empathy, and 10 percent desired more negative emotions, such as hatred and anger, in certain situations. In general, our ability to feel anger towards things that should make us angry may indeed make us happier overall.