We’re nervous about an upcoming work presentation, then lament our lack of confidence. We get angry at our partner, then feel guilty about our impatience. Our emotions undoubtedly influence our well-being — but recent research suggests that how we judge and react to those emotions may affect us even more.
In a study published last month in the journal Emotion, researchers found that people who habitually judge negative feelings — such as sadness, fear and anger — as bad or inappropriate have more anxiety and depression symptoms and feel less satisfied with their lives than people who generally perceive their negative emotions in a positive or neutral light.
The findings add to a growing body of research that indicates people fare better when they accept their unpleasant emotions as appropriate and healthy, rather than try to fight or suppress them.