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Your Emotional Roller Coaster Has A Purpose

Your Emotional Roller Coaster Has A Purpose

Image source: flickr.com/photos/allyaubryphotography

Ecopsychology, which examines human interactions with the natural world, often looks at the emotional connections that exist between them.

Emotions are kind of strange when you think about them.

As humans, we have a range of emotions that run through us at any given point in the day – anxiety, excitement, anger, sadness and happiness.

Some of our more negative emotions at times seem to wantonly circle around us as we swat at them, curse how we feel because of them and wish them away. Occasionally we may feel we are in an ever reaching grasp, just trying to get ahold of those seemingly fleeting, better-feeling emotional sentiments.

Although negative emotions, like bad moods, are no fun to experience they may actually serve a function. They can offer learning experiences that shape future reactions to events and teach what works and what doesn’t, and what to avoid the next time.

Research has even shown that a low mood can actually be beneficial. An interesting study published in Current Directions in Psychological Science highlights several reasons why a less than ideal mood may be occasionally good for us.

This particular study concluded that individuals in a depressive state were more realistic and objective. Also, depressed participants seemed to be better at time estimation.

According to researchers this may be correlated to a curious occurrence called depressive realism, in which those who are depressed are generally more aware of time. This may be because of instead of focusing on the external, more time is spent looking internally. Thus, they may exhibit behaviors that are more in tune with time because their thought progressions appear clearer. Further, bad moods may also increase attention to details, causing a heightened sense of what is going on.

The researchers bring attention to the concept that since we all have negative emotions in reaction to our environment, they must actually serve a practical application in our adaptive processes. Like a lot of other research on this subject seems to determine, our less than happy moments do appear to have a purpose.

So, that’s the good news. However, a decrease in a sense of happiness also can increase impatient behaviors and can negatively affect the decision making process.

Different emotions are tailored to external events in order to make our reactions more efficient. For example, if we were in a good mood all of the time we would not be able to react in order to properly remedy situations.

So, when your emotions take a turn on you, it may just help to remember that they are serving another purpose other than just making us grumpy. Or anxious. Or happy. Or indecisive.

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