Why we should say no to positivity — and yes to our negative emotions
It sounds paradoxical, but accepting our negative emotions can actually make us happier in the long run. Psychologist Susan David explains how.
This post is part of TED’s “How to Be a Better Human” series, each of which contains a piece of helpful advice from someone in the TED community; browse through all the posts here.
Most of us have been told to “Cheer up” or “Look on the bright side” by well-meaning family and friends. Sometimes, it’s because they see us looking sad, angry, anxious or frustrated, but it can also happen because we look pensive, uncertain or just about any state other than joyful. While we may be tempted to tell them “Stuff it,” we don’t because, well, feelings.
Next time, feel free to do so (but please be polite). “Being positive has become a new form of moral correctness,” says psychologist Susan David, founder and codirector of the Institute of Coaching at McLean Hospital of Harvard University Medical School, an instructor in psychology at Harvard, and author of Emotional Agility (read an excerpt here).
Suppressing or turning away from our difficult emotions is not healthy or helpful, says David. “What happens is, it undermines our ability to deal with the world as it is, not as we wish it to be,” she says. “This is associated with lower levels of resilience, lower levels of wellbeing, and higher levels of depression and anxiety. And it also impacts our relationships and our ability to achieve our goals.”
So, what should we do instead?
Read the full article HERE on ideas.ted.com