Why Negative Emotions are Crucial For Happiness


It’s okay to not be okay. I wanted to write this post because I didn’t want people to read my blog and think that I believe life should be all about sunshine, roses and rainbows and that we should somehow all be experiencing extreme joy every day and anything less is not good enough. No.

Negative emotions are essential for our mental well-being and overall happiness.Β 

Positive emotions are obviously crucial for us to lead a brighter life but we all have days when we don’t feel great. Life cruelly throws us into the rubbish dump sometimes and it’s important to understand the complexities that comes with being human – that hard times are inevitable as well as the happy times. It helps us make sense of life’s ups and downs and evaluate our experiences.

Scientifically, negative emotions can be vital clues to a health issue, a bad relationship or something in our life that requires our attention. The importance is to notice these emotions and not judge ourselves for them. They are there to help us and the key is to notice them and realign accordingly.

Prolonged negative emotions are telling us that we need to do something – something is not right and essentially needs fixing whether it’s something deep-rooted like a bad past experience we haven’t dealt with or something simple like taking steps to find a new job if you’re unhappy with your current one.

So never suppress negative emotions. Make sure you feel them and identify what they are trying to tell you without rushing to change your emotional state. Confide in other people, exercise, breathe slowly and deeply, and accept it. If the discomfort lingers then consider taking steps to change your circumstances or confronting the person/situation that is causing you the negative feelings.

Sometimes we just get used to feeling negatively and it becomes an everyday habit. It’s important to notice the difference between that and a more serious problem. We tend to accept our ongoing negative mindset because that is what we’ve got used to and it’s in this instance that we need to make a shift and to simply change that to a more positive perspective.

For times that are more trying, pulling on your positive resources can work wonders and can get you out of a funk but be kind to yourself and don’t force it. Let yourself ride it out and don’t suppress anything. Sometimes it’ll pass quickly and other times it’ll take much longer. The key is being able to see your problems with greater clarity and start taking those steps down the path to recovery πŸ™‚




22 thoughts on “Why Negative Emotions are Crucial For Happiness

  1. Michelle Malone

    Great advice! We sometimes suppress those emotions so that others will believe that we have it all together. Guess what? We’re human and fallible…just gotta accept it. πŸ™‚

    1. A Life Less Ordinary

      Exactly! That’s the other problem – pretending we’re OK when we’re not, especially to other people. That can just put so much pressure on us and sometimes make it worse. It’s important to ask for help and not feel that it’s weak in doing so. Thanks Michelle, great comment! πŸ™‚

  2. Maria

    This is true. We can only learn to appreciate happiness if we are confronted with negative emotions from time to time. Another great post again πŸ™‚

  3. simar

    Positive Psychologist Tal Ben-Shahar says that there are only two types of people that don’t experience negative emotions: Dead people and psychopaths. So, if you do experience negative emotions, consider yourself lucky because you aren’t one of those two kinds of people. It’s important to let negative emotions take their course. Accept them, learn from them, and move on. As long as the negative emotion (such as sadness) is not chronic, it’s okay. When it’s chronic, it’s important to change your circumstance, as you said, or seek external help. However, it’s okay to have a bad day, or a bad moment for that matter. Great post and thanks for writing.

    1. A Life Less Ordinary

      I love this, thank you. I hope that people understand that the negative emotions are sometimes just as important in terms of reaching a level of happiness and positivity. It’s impossible to be in a state of happiness at all times and our brains need to work through the anxieties and stresses that come with being human so it can get to that positive state again.

    1. A Life Less Ordinary

      Me too. It’s a downward spiral if people are made to feel isolated for feeling negatively. Everyone feels negatively to varying degrees at some point, so it should be something that’s spoken about more often.

  4. scribbleartie

    Oh, this is so true! Negative emotions are difficult to communicate, because of the fear of awkwardness and uncomfortable-ness that “other people” feel. Everybody wants to shout out about how happy they are, but nobody is brave about how sad they are feeling right now. Posts like this are so needed, because acceptance for all our emotions is a necessary human…..thing…..emotion? lol. We need to feel ok about not being ok.

    1. A Life Less Ordinary

      Exactly, it’s like there’s a huge pressure to feel happy all the time but that’s impossible and actually not necessary either. We aren’t failing because we feel down and it’s important for people to know it! Thanks for your comment πŸ™‚

  5. Johanna Rosberg

    Well said! People need to hear this – especially in a society where we’re expected to be and feel great all day every day, and where mental health/illness is still something we “shouldn’t” talk about. In order to be happy we need to allow the “bad” emotions to take place and come out as well as the “good” ones πŸ™‚

    1. A Life Less Ordinary

      That’s so true! Society doesn’t always allow us to admit our negative emotions which just suppresses and worsens the whole problem. No one will get to their happy place that way! Thanks for the great comment πŸ™‚

  6. brookziegirl1

    Embracing negative emotions is important. I believe that negativity produces happiness if we work through what is bothering us. For me, feeling sad and/or depressed is a symptom for needing change. You have a new follower. Have a positive day!

    1. A Life Less Ordinary

      You’re right, negative emotions are a really important indicator to tell us that something needs to be dealt with and beauty of it is that once we have, it can step us up to a better vibration and a path to a happier state. Thanks for your great comment and the follow – you have a great positive blog too which I look forward to reading πŸ™‚

  7. Miriam

    So true, isn’t it. It’s all about balance in our lives and that includes accepting all our feelings, both positive and negative. A wonderful post.

  8. roweeee

    Thanks for this post. I feel too many people only want to experience positive emotions and kill of or suppress all negativity, ignoring the role of these emotions. This was protrayed really well in the movie “INside Out”. Have you seen it? It really showed the positive benefits of sadness.
    Hope you are having a great weekend but it;s okay if you’re not as well!
    xx Rowena

    1. A Life Less Ordinary

      You know, that movie is on my list of films to watch…now you’ve mentioned it you’ve just bumped it up! I think it’s quite unhealthy to think that you should feel positive all the time. It’s so important to give in to negative feelings so we can learn and grow from them! Thanks for your great comment! πŸ™‚

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