18 Sep It might seem paradoxical, but embracing “negative emotions” is vital for happiness
Happiness is obviously desirable.
But realistically, happiness is not possible all the time.
In fact, research suggests that to really experience happiness we need to be comfortable with … unhappiness!
Read on for more…
via Forbes by Margie Warrell
“Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be,” wrote Abraham Lincoln.
Let’s face it, if happiness was as achievable as simply deciding to be happy, there’d be a whole lot more happy people. Yet not only is happiness not something we can “just choose,” when we put pressure on ourselves to feel happy, it can inadvertently set us on a war path with ourselves. Which is why, adopting a mindset that embraces the “not so happy” emotions we can rise up within us is essential to living a happier life.
But what is happiness anyway? As Daniel Gilbert wrote in Stumbling on Happiness, “There is no simple formula for happiness.” Certainly it is not a goal to achieve. Rather it’s the bi-product of living a wholehearted life — a life in which we allow ourselves to risk feeling the full spectrum of human emotion — disappointment, heartache, rejection, sadness, inadequacy — and to embrace our struggles and to accept our ourselves as the fallible “human becomings” that we are. We can help ourselves along in that process by doing more of what expands our capacity for all the experiences and emotions that life holds in store. Here are a few ideas based on both my own “hard-won wisdom” and the research by a growing legion of academics dedicated to getting beneath the superficial answers to the “how of happiness.”
Embrace life’s unpleasant emotions
Tal Ben-Shahar, author of Being Happy and creator of the most popular class in the history of Harvard University, has spent years researching happiness. In a conversation about his research for my podcast, he began by pointing out that there are only two types of people who don’t experience painful emotions. The first: psychopaths. The second: people who’ve died. His point (besides the obvious benefit of not falling in either category) is that painful emotions are part and parcel of life and when we deny, dismiss, numb or try to distract ourselves from feeling them fully – something many are highly adept at doing – we only perpetuate our pain and create unnecessary suffering…
…keep reading the full & original article HERE