Finding happiness in negative emotions

Finding happiness in negative emotions

I thought you might find the following research summary, from a recent edition of The Journal of Positive Psychology, interesting…

Researchers from the University of Texas tested out a new experimental writing design comparing a novel emotional regulation strategy with two more traditional approaches.

In short, they compared two established strategies for increasing psychological wellbeing, emotional disclosure and positive re-appraisal, with an integrated approach based on the combination of acceptance and re-appraisal.

So where as past approaches have typically recommended telling others how you're feeling and/or re-thinking the situation from a different perspective this new approach recommended a combination of accepting the situation as it is and then, re-thinking by looking for positive lessons.

Interestingly, the new, combined approach proved to be more effective and the authors concluded that this may well be the optimal strategy for building happiness after adversity.

As we've noted many times here in The Happiness Institute's free eNewsletter and also in my blog, "negative emotions" are not always negative in the sense that they're not always, ultimately, bad for you.

In fact, in many instances, if we can create an experience of post-traumatic growth we can often mature and learn from and become stronger or wiser following what might be, in the short term, unpleasant or negative situations.

So keep reading below for some practical applications of this fascinating and important research…

So how, then, do we put this into practice…

…well, here are a few classic coaching type questions we hope you might find useful.

  • What's really going on here? Realistically, what am I facing?

  • What's the worst that could happen? What's the best that could happend? What's the most realistic outcome?

  • What can I do about this?

  • What strengths do I bring to this situation?

  • What resources (e.g. other people) might help me deal with this situation?

  • How bad is it really?

  • How bad will it seem in a day, a week, a month or a year's time?

  • What might I learn from this?

  • When I'm able to look back on this and find something from which I can grow, what might it be?

Any other thoughts? What's helped you to re-assess and/or re-frame negative situations in the past?

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