In addition to being annoying, being told to be happy all the time actually backfires. As a society, we have become increasingly intolerant of negative feelings. This “feel-goodism” perpetuates the myth that bad feelings are unacceptable, should be treated with a pill or at the very least controlled and silenced:
This intolerance toward emotional pain puts us at loggerheads with a basic truth about being human: Sometimes we just feel bad, and there’s nothing wrong with that—which is why struggling too hard to control our anxiety and stress only makes things more difficult.
Research shows that a bad mood per se is not the problem. What matters is your attitude toward the bad mood:
Bad moods don’t have an adverse effect on everyone to the same degree. The crucial difference seems to be how much people see that there can be value, meaning and even satisfaction in bad moods—those who appreciate this tend to suffer fewer ill effects from the supposedly dark sides of the psyche.
In other words, having a positive attitude toward a bad mood makes a difference.
Related research highlights the benefits of a good cry. In a study, those who believed welling up with tears is a good way to relieve emotions felt better later on after watching and weeping through a sad movie.
If you are in a funk or particularly bad mood ask yourself, “What can I learn from it?” Channel your inner Sherlock Holmes and do some detective work to figure out what triggered it. Is there something else going on that you need to address? Most importantly, don’t beat yourself up for being in a bad mood. The truth is that occasional bad moods can be part of a good life.
It turns out bad moods can have a bright side.
I wish you all the best,
Dr. Samantha Boardman