Is there any benefit to being in a bad mood? Apparently so. New research has found that being in a bad mood can help some people’s executive functioning, such as their ability to focus attention, manage time and prioritize tasks.
University of Waterloo researchers explored whether our emotional reactivity shaped how mood influences the kinds of thinking skills we need to navigate the demands and stresses of day-to-day life, and found that there are some people for whom a bad mood may actually hone the kind of thinking skills that are important for everyday life. These high-reactive individuals —people who have rapid, intense, and enduring emotional responses — performed better on executive function tasks when experiencing a bad mood.
The study authors are quick to point out that people shouldn’t interpret the results as saying it’s fine to fly off the handle or overreact, or to be grouchy. The research paper appears in the journal “Personality and Individual Differences”. (The Canadian Press)