Are there actually bad side effects to happiness? And if so, what are they? I thought this would be an interesting thing to explore and ended up finding out some quite interesting stuff.
There does seem to be a limit to happiness, in that too much of it can push into mental illness such as manic-depression, however that is mainly in the clinical sense and not individual. In an article called A dark side of happiness? How, when, and why happiness is not always good, they answer four, quite interesting questions, which I thought I would share with you guys.
(They define happiness as increase in positive emotions and decrease of negative ones)
- Is there a wrong degree of happiness?
Yes apparently there is.
- Too much happiness can actually promote risky behaviour and individuals may neglect important threats and dangers.
- Lack of negative emotions can also be a marker of psychopathology (now that’s not cool), and it can cause worse outcomes in other disorders like depression.
- Is there a wrong time for happiness?
Well this is kind of obvious in some cases like: don’t laugh through a whole funeral, but there were some other findings:
- Positive emotions can change the outcome of negotiations for the worse (now that’s kind of interesting).
- Happy people are slower to detect potential threats, for instance a car heading for you at high speed.
- In circumstances where confrontation is necessary negative emotions actually yield better outcomes than positive ones.
- Are there wrong ways to pursue happiness?
- Directly pursuing happiness has been shown to actually have negative effects (why has no one told us about this?)
- By setting happiness as a goal you are setting your self up for disappointment, because there will always come times when happiness is not appropriate. People who set happiness as a goal get more disappointed at times of distress and report less overall well-being than people who do not directly pursue happiness.
- However, accepting negative emotions and not actively trying to make them disappear leads to more well-being.
- Ways to avoid direct pursuit of happiness: practicing the ability to regulate emotions, awareness of things that will make you happy, and engaging in activities that make you happy.
In simple English: accept all emotions and do fun stuff!
- Are there wrong types of happiness?
Being overly proud of ones self with out the right justifications will lead to negative social effects (well, that one is pretty obvious).
So happiness isn’t always a good thing. But there are huge amounts of good side effects too, which I will blog about shortly.
That’s it for now.
Hope you enjoy!