I haven’t checked in for a while… mainly because I’ve been pretty busy. Work busy, volunteer busy, life busy. I am convinced it’s been taking its toll on me. More and more I’ve been finding myself in a bad mood. Like really bad. The kind of bad where bad can happen and while I am aware it’s not good to always be rockin this type of mood, I had to stop and wonder if… It’s Okay To Rock A Bad Mood?
It’s this thing and I’ve been feeling stuck, on the island of Liz, where no one can quite get their head around what it’s like to live a day in the life. The biggest driver I suspect is feeling unsupported. Like physically supported. Now — before you jump off of the deep end, and some would, nothing is on fire, and nothing is at critical mass in this moment. But often I can’t help but to wonder what it might feel like to have someone say, “Let me take that burden from you.” now mind you, I don’t know if anyone I know speaks in just that tone, but I find myself daydreaming they would.*
Back to the bad mood thing…
Being in the place where I don’t know if I can do one more thing in this moment — I took a pause and let Google help me out. And… it turns out, there are benefits to being in a bad mood. So let me share while I consider the exit options from this mood place.
My thanks to Joseph Paul Forgas and TheConversation.com
What is the point of sadness?
Psychologists who study how our feelings and behaviours have evolved over time maintain all our affective states (such as moods and emotions) have a useful role: they alert us to states of the world we need to respond to.
In fact, the range of human emotions includes many more negative than positive feelings. Negative emotions such as fear, anger, shame or disgust are helpful because they help us recognise, avoid and overcome threatening or dangerous situations.
But what is the point of sadness, perhaps the most common negative emotion, and one most practising psychologists deal with?
Intense and enduring sadness, such as depression, is obviously a serious and debilitating disorder. However, mild, temporary bad moods may serve an important and useful adaptive purpose, by helping us to cope with everyday challenges and difficult situations.
These moods also act as a social signal that communicates disengagement and withdrawal from competition and provides a protective cover. When we appear sad or in a bad mood, people often are concerned and are inclined to help.
When we’re sad, other people show concern and want to help. Joshua Clay/Unsplash
Some negative moods, such as melancholia and nostalgia (a longing for the past), may even be pleasant and seem to provide useful information to guide future plans and motivation.
Sadness can also enhance empathy, compassion, connectedness and moral and aesthetic sensibility. And sadness has long been a trigger for artistic creativity.
Recent scientific experiments document the benefits of mild bad moods. These often work as automatic, unconscious alarm signals, promoting a more attentive and detailed thinking style. In other words, bad moods help us to be more attentive and focused in difficult situations.
In contrast, a positive mood (like feeling happy) typically serves as a signal indicating familiar and safe situations and results in a less detailed and attentive processing style.
Psychological benefits of sadness
There is now growing evidence that negative moods, like sadness, have psychological benefits.
Feeling sad or in a bad mood produces a number of benefits:
- better memory: in one study, a bad mood (caused by bad weather) resulted in people better remembering the details of a shop they just left. Bad mood can also improve eyewitness memories by reducing the effects of various distractions, such as irrelevant, false or misleading information.
- more accurate judgements: a mild bad mood also reduces some biases and distortions in how people form impressions. For instance, slightly sad judges formed more accurate and reliable impressions about others because they processed details more effectively. We found that bad moods also reduced gullibility and increased scepticism when evaluating urban myths and rumours, and even improved people’s ability to detect deception more accurately. People in a mild bad mood are also less likely to rely on simplistic stereotypes.
- motivation: other experiments found that when happy and sad participants were asked to perform a difficult mental task, those in a bad mood tried harder and persevered more. They spent more time on the task, attempted more questions and produced more correct answers.
- better communication: the more attentive and detailed thinking style promoted by a bad mood can also improve communication. We found people in a sad mood used more effective persuasive arguments to convince others, were better at understanding ambiguous sentences and communicated better when talking.
- increased fairness: other experiments found that a mild bad mood caused people to pay greater attention to social expectations and norms, and they treated others less selfishly and more fairly
Now then… don’t we all feel better?
The truth. No. I don’t. But I am in a place where I can let the bad mood be, take advantage of how it impacts my world and allows me to be a better communicator, decision maker, persevere “er” and owner of my feelings.
And in the end, somehow, it all ties back to grace and allowing myself the space to be okay with being in a bad mood, feeling stranded on the isle of Liz (even though it’s likely not truth). And… to the “*”, it just so happens that someone DOES speak to me that way. God does… thanks Amazingfacts.org
1. “Cast your burden on the Lord, and He shall sustain you; He shall never permit the righteous to be moved” (Psalm 55:22). God is glad to carry MY burdens and give me the daily strength I need.
2. “Is this not the fast that I have chosen: To loose the bonds of wickedness, to undo the heavy burdens, to let the oppressed go free, and that you break every yoke?” (Isaiah 58:6). It’s not God’s will that I should be crushed down with excessive burdens; let Him free ME today.
3. “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light” (Matthew 11:28–30). Jesus will remove MY heavy burden of guilt and hopelessness and give ME true rest in Him.
4. “For I, the Lord your God, will hold your right hand, saying to you, ‘Fear not, I will help you’” (Isaiah 41:13). God promises to support and help ME through every trial.
5. “Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:6, 7). Just knowing MY heavenly Father cares about ME personally can make any load seem lighter.
6. “Even to your old age, I am He, and even to gray hairs I will carry you! I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you” (Isaiah 46:4). The Lord desires to constantly support ME throughout MY life, with the intention of saving ME eternally.
7. “He will feed His flock like a shepherd; He will gather the lambs with His arm, and carry them in His bosom” (Isaiah 40:11). The Good Shepherd will gladly bear ME in His gentle arms right now.
8. “The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears, and delivers them out of all their troubles” (Psalm 34:17). If I belong to Him, God will always listen when I call to Him for help.
9. “Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, yes, I will help you, I will uphold you with My righteous right hand” (Isaiah 41:10). Through faith His strength becomes MINE, and He reaches out to keep ME from falling.
10. “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ” (Galatians 6:2). When God has lightened MY burdens, He asks ME to do the same for YOU.
And just like that… the load is lighter.