The Benefits of Emodiversity for Your Mental Health

What's emodiversity? And why should we be embracing our negative emotions? Read more here!
The Benefits of Emodiversity for Your Mental Health
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 15 November, 2021

In nature, the more diverse an ecosystem is, the stronger, richer, and more resilient it is. Emodiversity follows that same principle. In this article, we’ll explain the benefits of emodiversity.

The more varied your palette of emotions, the greater your flexibility and strength. If you can understand this world without losing yourself in the extremes, then you’re investing in your health. As a result of this, you’ll become more intelligent and mature.

If we think about it, society promotes the idea that, in order to achieve well-being, you must only experience positive emotions. Most self-help books affirm the same principle. Something like that leads you, almost without realizing it, to a King Arthur-like journey in search of the holy grail of happiness. A holy grail that will, supposedly, help you avoid sadness, disappointment, frustration, or anger at all costs.

Understanding the enemy

People forget that there’s no better strategy than understanding their enemy. If you try to flee from negative emotions, you put a blindfold over your eyes. You deny yourself a chance to learn how to acquire greater resources to deal with any circumstances that life throws at you.

Life, like your emotions, is diverse and highly complex. Only those who allow themselves to understand their feelings and emotions in a deeper way will better adapt to the fluctuations of everyday life.

We’ve been conditioned to believe that negative feelings are an enemy of well-being. Many people think that those who go from happy to angry or depressed to hopeful on the same day are unstable and even fickle. It’s time to clarify all of this. It’s time to learn about the benefits of emodiversity for your mental health.

What are the benefits of emodiversity?

Emodiversity defines our ability to be able to feel and experience a wide range of emotions – the more the better. Learning to allow yourself to experience each feeling without blocking or denying them is a real advantage that will help you adapt to any situation in life. This will help you become more authentic. In addition to that, it’ll also give you more resources to face difficulties and improve your mental health.

This idea isn’t new. Back in 2012, the journal Emotion published a study about it and supported the idea of looking into it.

The University of Queensland looked into how the classic expectation that happiness is synonymous with positive emotions could affect the Australian and Japanese populations. This idea doesn’t allow people to learn how to deal with negative emotions. They end up just avoiding them. If you search for happiness this way, you’ll just end up unsatisfied.

Dismantling happiness

To learn how to be happy you must, so to speak, press the reset button on your “mental hard drive”. You need to start deleting much of what you’ve been told so far. In effect, you have to “unlearn” it.

The first idea you need to assimilate is that negative emotions aren’t harmful. Every time you feel and accept an emotion, you’re committing to dealing with it. You’re making a commitment to trying to understand yourself and accept what’s happening. Them, you’ll be responsible for looking for solutions or creating changes.

The second aspect you need to “program” into your mind is that, by allowing yourself to experience as many emotions as possible, you’re boosting your emotional resistance. This will be beneficial for your mental health and psychological abilities.

In conclusion, those who only consider positive emotions will always lack the tools to deal with difficulties and frustrations. Likewise, those who dwell on negative emotions will be at a greater risk of developing depression and anxiety disorders.

The health benefits of emodiversity

In 2014, the Universities of Yale, Pompeu Fabra (Barcelona, Spain), and Cambridge (England) conducted an extensive study to analyze the benefits of emodiversity. They looked into whether a desire to allow ourselves to experience the greatest number of possible emotions has a direct impact on our physical and emotional health.

The researchers discovered very interesting findings. They discovered that people who either blocked out their negative emotions or had a perpetual state of frustration, discouragement, and anger didn’t just develop more psychological disorders. They also had fewer defenses and suffered from more inflammation and a tendency to develop more diseases.

As you can see, emotions govern your quality of life and have a direct impact on your health.

Care for your emotional ecosystem

An emotional ecosystem rich in sensations, wide-ranging in accepted emotions, and nourished by feelings that have been accepted as valuable learning curves, creates a stronger and wiser psychological environment. You need to learn how to care for that emodiversity by being honest with yourself.

Sadness, anger, fear, or disappointment aren’t weeds that you need to pluck out. Neither are they the baobab seeds that the Little Prince feared would blow up his little planet. These negative emotions, along with the positive ones, make up who you are. You can’t act as if they’re predators by denying them or trying to hide them away.

You must walk with them, manage them, and transform them. This way, you’ll see that all the riches of your psychological and emotional ecosystem give you valuable tools to build up resources. In turn, this will make you resistant to any adversity and in a better position to shape true happiness in your life. Don’t accept false substitutes!

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.