Feeling okay about feeling “bad” is healthy

Feeling okay about feeling “bad” is healthy

Whether we’re scrolling through social media or around our circle of friends, we’re often taught to feel good all the time. From our work to our health, it always seems to be about constantly having a positive attitude, and this can be draining. It turns out it’s okay to feel “bad”. Here’s why.

Feeling bad feels good

Not accepting any state of emotions is just as bad, so don’t deny how you feel. Reacting to negative feelings can be damaging, but so is ignoring the emotion. It’s not so much about changing from low to high, but accepting the feeling and staying in touch with what’s going on in your mind.

Think of it as taking things for what they are. Accept the negative state instead of judging yourself for the few negative thoughts that pop up during the day. It’s all going to be okay.

Dangerous side effects

It’s normal to want sad feelings to disappear. That’s the automatic response most people have when they want to feel better. It’s often better to let the feeling run its course. Receiving the natural response is the best strategy because that sad feeling won’t last forever.

Don’t pretend not to be upset or beat yourself up for feeling bad. Accepting this feeling can actually be a cathartic release and a break from the mind. It’s impossible to avoid all mental pain, so it’s actually okay to accept things as they come up in order to move on from the situation.

Results and okay

University of Toronto’s Brett Ford led three experiments that expanded on previous research showing that accepting emotions is linked to a healthier well-being. His results suggested that accepting emotions and letting them pass through is related to greater self-help and mental health.

This past July 2017, a Harvard study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology looked at three studies of people who accept their emotional experiences versus negatively judging them. These separate but related studies all revolved around accepting negative experiences instead of reacting to them. Results here showed people who accepted these feelings had less confrontation with daily stressors and felt more equipped to handle challenging issues.

It’s okay to have a “bad” day

Next time you feel bad, remember it’s okay! Humans are made to feel a variety of emotions. Accepting those habitual emotional experiences is a healthy part of living.

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