Tuesday, November 01, 2016

Go ahead. Be a nabob of negativity

Hey, does the following make sense to you?
المشاعر السلبية مفتاح الصحة النفسية
Before I tell you what the means, allow me to discuss something with you.  Remember, I noted in yesterday's post that you can't selectively edit me out--you have to put up with my boring stories also ;)

Quite a few months ago, I noticed something interesting in the New York Times.  A select report or a column included a link for the Chinese version or an Arabic version.  Once, I even tweeted the "foreign" language version just to see if there was an audience for it.  And there was.  (I have no idea how to quickly search through my tweets and track that down!)

As much as we (ok, I) beat up on modern technology, I, like many, am an ardent fan of it.  Without the modern communication technology, you, dear reader, and I would not have even met, right?  And here we are exchanging ideas, debating, all thanks to the modern marvel.  If we want to pass along a column to an English-challenged friend somewhere, we can send them the Chinese or Arabic version too.  (I suspect that the FBI has opened a file on me for using the Arabic characters in this post, and for repeatedly writing "Arabic". Hehehe)

So, back to that Arabic phrase.  It was there in this Scientific American piece on "Negative Emotions Are Key to Well-Being."  Now, go ahead and check that link out for the Arabic version.  (Click that link only if you are white-skinned; the FBI will track you if you are brown-skinned. Haha!)
Although positive emotions are worth cultivating, problems arise when people start believing they must be upbeat all the time. In fact, anger and sadness are an important part of life, and new research shows that experiencing and accepting such emotions are vital to our mental health. Attempting to suppress thoughts can backfire and even diminish our sense of contentment.
Why?
“Acknowledging the complexity of life may be an especially fruitful path to psychological well-being,” says psychologist Jonathan M. Adler of the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering.
Are you thinking what I am thinking?  Why is a psychology expert in the College of Engineering, right?  Yep, this is how I read things, my friend! ;)

The complexity of life means that we can not, will not, be happy all the time.  There will be moments of other emotions that we classify as negative.  Remember the Pixar movie, Inside Out, in which sadness plays a key role?
Unpleasant feelings are just as crucial as the enjoyable ones in helping you make sense of life's ups and downs. “Remember, one of the primary reasons we have emotions in the first place is to help us evaluate our experiences,” Adler says.
Our life experiences are not mere facts, right?  Those experiences are loaded with emotions.
Instead of backing away from negative emotions, accept them. Acknowledge how you are feeling without rushing to change your emotional state.
Or, as I tell people--if they ever check with me--I tell them to honor those emotions and not deny their existence, or drown them in alcohol.  "What you feel is what you feel" is how I have come to conclude about the negative emotions.  To honor them and work through them is the way to do it.  "Learning how to cope with those emotions is the key."  Indeed.

If only I could convey these to the angry members of ISIS.  Hey, can you white readers send ISIS the Arabic version of the Scientific American piece? ;)


3 comments:

Ramesh said...

We've said this before, Utopia is the worst curse that can befall anybody. Without sadness, there is no happiness and vice versa. As long as they are in reasonable doses ......

I am brown. I've been in many Arabian countries a number of times. I live in the third largest Muslim country in the world. I've been to many a mosque. I read The Dawn newspaper regularly. I listen to Sufi music all the time. NSA/FBI , whoever - Are you listening you miserable so and so :):):) Open a file, dammit !!



Anne in Salem said...

I think we are working through our emotions quite well. Don't you get texts full of emojis?

Teaching children to work through their emotions - good and bad - is a vital aspect of parenthood, yet it is something with which struggle mightily. We want to protect our children from being hurt, from failing, from disappointment, yet that is counterproductive to raising a capable human being. And sometimes we don't express negative emotions in front of them for fear of scaring them so we can't even teach by example. Tough line to walk.

I think I need to see this movie.

Sriram Khé said...

Ahem, Ramesh, with these disclosures, you have now qualified yourself for a full-cavity search the next time you visit NSAistan ;)

Emojis are a part of the "the illusion of companionship" that modern communication technology provides us. At best, they perhaps serve to "humanize" the otherwise string of words that we text.

"Inside Out" is an awesome movie that goes against a Disney-esque formula of storytelling. Yes, parenting is not easy.

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