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Accepting Negative Emotions Makes People Healthier, but Not Happier

anthony anderson crying in blackish

Parents who accept negative emotions rather than fight them may have fewer physical and psychological health problems, according to new research. This is not the first study to suggest that our society’s emphasis on parents suppressing their darker feelings—even when childrearing seems unbearable—may not be great for our long-term mental health. But this study is among the first to attach robust data to these observations.

“Accepting the negative emotions and negative thoughts that are a natural part of parenthood might be a useful approach to help reduce overall levels of negativity and help increase health and well-being in the long-run,” coauthor on the study Brett Ford of the University of Toronto told Fatherly. Conversely, Ford says, blocking out your bad feelings and focusing on your good fortune doesn’t help. (That’s what “fortune” is for!)

Ford and colleagues conducted three experiments, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. First, they administered a series of questionnaires to 1,003 undergraduate students at the University of California, Berkeley regarding their emotional regulation and psychological health. While prior studies have shown that negative emotions…

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