There’s the overarching belief that the pursuit of happiness is an important one.
In a culture of positivity, we are conditioned to focus on making the most of every opportunity that comes our way – taking holidays of a lifetime, working towards that promotion and being the perfect parent – in order to live life to the full and be happy.
Yet what we rarely consider is the impact of this relentless pursuit on our health and well-being. Furthermore, in the long-term, research has shown that constantly striving to be happy actually makes us unhappy.
So in order to be truly happy, maybe we should start embracing negative emotions. By accepting them as natural and useful elements of our every day lives, they could in fact be the key to happiness.
Guilt makes us better people
According to psychologist, Todd Kashdan, “guilt adds to our moral fibre; motivating us to be more socially sensitive and caring citizens than we would be otherwise.” Certainly, those who have a guilty conscience are far less likely to commit a crime and are considered to be happier and more content with their lives.
Self-doubt boosts performance
Karl Wheatley, a researcher at Cleveland State University, US believes that, in moderation, doubt can be a very useful emotion. This is because it makes us second-guess our skills and feel motivated to work on improving any areas where we may be deficient. This personal reflection and development is fundamental for realising a happier and more fulfilled sense of self.
Mindlessness encourages creativity
Psychologist Kashdan argues that there is “something inventive about loose, unfocused attention” – when you are daydreaming or lost in a whirlwind of thoughts when suddenly you’re struck by a light bulb moment. Kashdan adds that there is various research supporting the idea that creativity sneaks up on us.