Everybody has bad days sometimes, and that’s okay. While some people might tell you to just “grin and bear it,” you don’t have to force yourself to be happy all of the time if you don’t feel like it. In fact, forcing yourself to be happy can actually be unhealthy and hurt you in the long run.
Forcing Happiness Can Make You Unhappy
When you’re having a bad day, you may feel guilty about not feeling happy and force yourself to act happy as a result. Some people think that faking it until you make it is a great way to increase your happiness, but in fact, faking or forcing happiness can actually cause you to feel unhappier and more stressed. Trying to suppress negative thoughts and emotions can make them worse and people may feel guilt for feeling negative emotions when they’re trying so hard to be happy.
Image Credit: Michael Ramey
Negative Emotions Can Act as Motivation
If you think back on a time when you made a change that improved your life, it’s probably because you were feeling unsatisfied in life and wanted to move forward. Negative emotions such as sadness and frustration aren’t pleasant, which is exactly why these emotions are a good motivation to make a change in your life and improve your circumstances. If you were happy all of the time, you’d never see a need for change in your life and would never grow as a result.
Engaging in Negative Emotions in Moderation Can be Beneficial
If you’re feeling sad, angry, upset or any other negative emotion, don’t push your feelings down. Instead, engage with your feelings by trying to figure out what’s causing them. Embracing your negative emotions for a short period of time can help you come to terms with whatever has caused you to be upset, which will then help you move on from the situation so you can feel positive again.
Image Credit: Francisco Moreno
Don’t Force Happiness, But Don’t Wallow in Misery
While there’s no need to force happiness if you’re having a less than stellar day, wallowing in negative emotions for days on end won’t help you either. If you let your negative emotions take over, they may cause you to think pessimistically and relive painful experiences, which may take you down a dark path that could prevent future happiness. Dealing with short-term negative emotions is helpful and healthy, but if your negative emotions are interfering with your routine and everyday functioning, you may want to talk to a doctor or counselor about how you’re feeling.
Although your Instagram or Facebook feed may lead you to believe otherwise, no one is truly happy all the time and it’s normal to experience highs and lows as you go about your day, week or month. If you’re having an off day, don’t push your feelings away and put on a smile, but instead, feel and work through your negative emotions and know that it’s okay not to feel okay.
Feature Image: Karl Frederikson