You’re Not Supposed To Be Happy All The Time: 10 Things We Misunderstand About Emotion

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1. The long-term effects of emotional abuse can be as bad, if not worse, than physical abuse.

Emotional abuse is often not taken as seriously because it cannot always be “seen.” But the severity of the long-term effects of any type of abuse aren’t all that different. Emotional abuse is similar to physical abuse in that it systematically wears away at a person’s self confidence, worth and concept. Emotional abuse can manifest in a variety of ways, including but not limited to, controlling, threatening, degrading, belittling, criticizing, shouting, etc.

2. Emotions outlast the memories that created them.

We take past emotions and project them onto situations that are in our current lives. This is to say, unless we heal what happened in the past, we’re always going to be controlled by it. Furthermore, our irrational fears and most severe day-to-day anxieties can be traced back to a cause, of which needs to be addressed to effectively stop the effect.

3. Creative people are depressed for a reason.

The expression and experience of negative emotions are correlated with activation in the right frontal cortex (as well as in other structures such as the amygdala) or in other words, the same areas that are activated when consistently being creative, and putting abstract meaning to the concrete reality of whatever your current experience is.

4. Fear doesn’t mean a desire to escape. It means you’re interested.

The emotion most associated with fear is interest, believe it or not. It’s even been said that fear has two invisible faces: one that wants to flee and the other that wants to investigate. This is to say, nothing is generally ‘scary’ to us unless some part of us also wants to understand it, knows we are a part of it, feels as though it will become part of our experience.

5. Feelings other than happiness are not marks of failure. Health is having a spectrum of emotion.

Negative emotions are good for you. In fact, maintaining a consistent experience of only ‘happiness’ – or any emotion, really, would be a sign of mental illness. It’s simply not how our minds and bodies are structured. In other words, you’re not supposed to be happy all the time. Listen to what your body is telling you. Negative emotions are a signal that something isn’t right. The emotion doesn’t have to be fixed, the thing that it’s signaling your attention to does.

6. Emotions can ‘predict the future,’ or in other words, gut feelings are real

A study at Columbia University, of which is being called the “Emotional Oracle Effect” essentially proved that people who trust their emotions can predict future outcomes. Because they tap into it regularly, they have a window into their subconscious mind, which is more or less just an unconscious well of information.

7. We can relive social pain more than we can physical pain, which is another reason some researchers believe it is, in a sense, more damaging.

When there aren’t any psychological factors that play into physical pain, or rather, there’s no innate instinct that we need to process or re-adjust ourselves to survive, we let the memory go. However, our brains will prioritize rejection or other social emotion or humiliation, because we need to remain in the ‘tribe’ to survive.

8. Stress may just be the most dangerous emotion (especially when it’s consistent) and yet it goes unaddressed more often than other feelings.

Relaxing isn’t something you should do to pamper yourself, it’s absolutely essential. Stress debilitates every part of you, and it’s in one way or another interconnected with the top causes of death around the world: accidents, cancer, heart disease, suicide, etc.

9. Social media is actually making us more emotionally disconnected.

Consistently consuming soundbites of people’s lives leads us to piece together a particular idea of reality – one that is far from the truth. We develop such anxiety surrounding social media (and whether or not we’re really living up to the standards expected of us) that we begin to prioritize screen time over real-life face time. As beings who require human intimacy (romantic and not) to survive, it’s becoming a more and more detrimental force in our culture.

10. “You cannot selectively numb emotion. When we numb [hard feelings], we numb joy, we numb gratitude, we numb happiness.”

Social researcher Brené Brown, who is an expert on vulnerability and shame, argues that you cannot numb yourself to one experience without numbing yourself to everything else. You cannot disregard sadness without also making yourself immune to happiness. This is to say, it’s healthier to experience everything, the good and the bad. Thought Catalog Logo Mark

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