They say “fake it until you make it”, but it is almost as though maintaining a positive appearance acts as a catalyst for bad mood swings. Social media is more demanding than ever, and so we seem to encircle our lives with feelings of relentlessness and constant desolation. Still, bad moods remain an essential part of the normal range of moods we regularly experience, whether we’ve joined the well-marketed happiness cult or not.
Notwithstanding, thanks to recent studies, there is now significant evidence showing that negative moods, like sadness and anger, have psychological benefits. In order to scientifically test this theory out, performance changes were measured in several cognitive and behavioral tasks while under different moods. As it turned out, feeling sad, mad or just generally in a bad mood can assist in making the following positive outcomes:
1. Preferred communication – when in a bad mood, one is usually more attentive and has a better detailed thinking style. These involuntary actions may improve communication, as in one study it was revealed that people feeling sad used more constructive, persuasive arguments to convince others, and by doing so they were more easily understood.
2. Better memory – a study showed that while in a bad mood, individuals had an easier time remembering specifics when questioned about an event. For example, after leaving a shop in which one has argued with the cashier, one is more likely to reduce the effects of distractions that took place, disregard irrelevant or misleading information, and thus improve eyewitness memories.
3. On-point judgements – judges have an incredibly tough job as it is, trying to depict the liars from the truth tellers. As it turns out, once in a bad mood, one is less likely to be gullible as they pay more attention to details and think critically. Additionally, this sort of mood may reduce biases of people. Although increased scepticism did occur among those who were in a lesser positive mood, this was when faced with unlikely or hard to believe situations, such as urban myths and rumors. when evaluating urban myths and rumours, and even improved people’s ability to more accurately detect deception.
4. Fairness overload – people in a mild bad mood are less likely to rely on simplistic stereotypes, meaning they had an uncontrollable need to seek increased fairness. This act was done subconsciously, as people involuntarily paid greater attention to social expectations and norms. By doing so, they thought less about their own personal gain.
5. Self motivation – a study showed that when provided with a demanding mental task, those who were feeling in a worsened mood actually found it easier to focus on the task, and were more motivated to do the best that they could. This was expressed through spending more time on the task, trying to solve more questions and, as a matter of fact, produce more accurate and correct answers, too.