I’d love to say you can be happy all the time and avoid angry feelings, but we’re human.
We all experience a range of emotions that go hand-in-hand with the ups and downs of life.
To see how emotions like anger, hostility and hatred impacted happiness levels, researchers interviewed over 2,000 university students in 8 countries including here in America.
They found students who said their emotional state matched what they wanted or desired, reported greater life satisfaction and fewer symptoms of depression.
Let’s say for example you’re hoping to get a promotion at work.
You’d expect to feel pretty crummy if that doesn’t happen. Or, if you read a story about child abuse, you’d expect to feel anger.
Instead of burying emotion, allow yourself to feel it. It’s better to process unpleasant emotions because meaningful and valuable feelings in the end leads to more life satisfaction.
The western world has a lot of unrealistic expectations as there’s a lot more to happiness than just feeling endless joy. Here are my prescriptions:
1. Don’t feel pressure to be happy all the time. Suppressed emotions can lead to less happiness when your reality doesn’t match your desires.
2. Don’t push away negative emotions, instead find meaning in them. They’ll lose their power and resolve naturally.
3. Exercise regularly. You’ll lower stress chemical levels which allows you to cope better with unpleasant feelings.
4. Think of ways you can safely express your emotions like talking with a loved one. Holding onto unpleasant emotions can lead to a downward spiral.
This research doesn’t apply to anyone who has clinical depression which affects how you think, feel and behave.
What’s most effective for this mood disorder is psychotherapy and medications. If you can’t shake strong emotions and find yourself stuck in sadness or hopelessness, please talk to your doctor about getting help.