Hello my friends!
Emotions can influence behavior, but they have other implications, as well. One important function of emotion is to provide information (Schwarz & Clore, 1983). Emotion regulation is driven by epistemic motives when people are motivated to experience emotions to attain certain information. Emotions provide information about oneself and about the world. People are motivated to attain two different types of information about themselves. First, given the need for positive self-regard, people seek out information that enhances their self-images (Rogers, 1951). Second, given the need for consistency and predictability, people seek out information that verifies their self-images (Seann, 1987). When emotional experiences reflect negatively on themselves, people may be motivated to avoid these experiences.
Emotional acceptance refers to the willingness and ability to accept and experience the negative emotion, to acknowledge and absorb it. Acceptance offers several advantages. By accepting your emotions, you are accepting the truth of your situation.
We’re living in a “cultural age that’s decidedly pro-positivity,” MacLellan writes, which makes the “pressure to suppress or camouflage negative feelings” all the more pronounced. In the West (especially in the U.S.) “happiness and positivity are seen as virtues,” MacLellan notes. Anger, fear, resentment, frustration, and anxiety are emotional states that many people experience regularly but try to avoid. And this is understandable—they are designed to make us uncomfortable. These negative emotional states can create extra stress in your body and your mind, which is uncomfortable but also can lead to health issues if the stress becomes chronic or overwhelming. Managing negative emotions means not allowing them to overrun us; we can keep them under control without denying that we are feeling them. A study on emotional acceptance, from the University of California, Berkeley, found that putting pressure on yourself to feel upbeat when you are actually feeling downtrodden or dejected can take a psychological toll. The latest UC Berkeley study reaffirms the benefits of this explanatory style. The researchers found that accepting negative emotions or thoughts in the moment helps individuals avoid catastrophizing or dwelling on temporary negative mental experiences. Research has suggested that acceptance whether it is embracing our good and bad attributes, or accepting the way we look – is associated with better psychological well-being.
Prof. Ford and team sought to determine how acceptance of negative emotions – such as sadness, disappointment, and anger – might influence psychological health. Accepting negative emotions without judging or trying to change them helps people cope more effectively with various types of stress. Negative emotions serve a purpose and have a positive intention. As Ford explains, “acceptance involves not trying to change how we are feeling, but staying in touch with your feelings and taking them for what they are.”
Iris Mauss, an associate professor of psychology at the University of California, Berkeley and director of the Emotion and Emotion Regulation Lab said: “We found that people who habitually accept their negative emotions experience fewer negative emotions, which adds up to better psychological health. Maybe if you have an accepting attitude toward negative emotions, you’re not giving them as much attention. And perhaps, if you’re constantly judging your emotions, the negativity can pile up.”
The researchers found that subjects who reported trying to avoid negative emotions in response to bad experiences were more likely to have symptoms of mood disorders, such as anxiety and depression, 6 months later, compared with those who embraced their negative emotions.
Dr. Ronald Siegel, another psychologist with Harvard Medical School, he discusses proven strategies for cultivating mindfulness and self compassion. He share this insight:
“When we are hurting, when we notice that we’ve had a disappointment, we’ve had a failure, something hasn’t turned out well, which [it] inevitably will. Inevitably, we’ll have these moment of defeat, that we can just be nice to ourselves and give ourselves a hug, feel the feeling of vulnerability, feel the feeling of failure, and trust that that’s okay too, that it’s just part of the cycle and we don’t have to identify with that or believe in it. Because as it turns out, none of us are so great and none of us are so terrible.”
There are several strategies that have been explored and recommended as a means to accepting and processing negative emotions:
Observe your emotions. Remember, you are not your emotions, you are the watcher of your emotions (Tolle, 2010).
Label the emotion you are experiencing.
Acceptance increases your own self-compassion and tolerance for frustration (by Practicing Mindfulness). Feeling with non-judgment and non reaction is healing and a necessary part of the self-growth process.
Re-appraise and re-frame.
Choose your action.
Thank you for reading.