You’re given a choice: Would you rather spend your day feeling happy versus happy interspersed with some moments of sadness, frustration, and anxiety? Most of us would choose the first option in a heartbeat. Psychologists, too, long championed the importance of cultivating positive emotions as one path towards optimizing well being, resilience to stressors, and salutary physical health outcomes. Not surprisingly, when people are asked what emotions they want to feel, we place a heavy emphasis on wanting to feel primarily positive emotions.
However, research suggests the choice may no longer be a straightforward one. Recent work by psychologists reveals the once hidden benefits of experiencing a diversity of emotions, both positive and negative. Just as physical environments flourish through a biodiversity of flora and fauna, this new work on ‘emodiversity’ likens the human mind to an abstract and internal psychological ecosystem that may also benefit from experiencing a wide diversity of emotions.
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