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According to recent studies, becoming upset may aid in reaching your objectives.
While commonly viewed in a negative light, anger can serve as a strong driving force for individuals to reach difficult goals in their personal endeavors.
According to the research, this technique can be beneficial in accomplishing difficult objectives, but it is not associated with simpler tasks.
The results indicate that emotions typically viewed as negative, like anger, boredom, or sadness, can have practical benefits.
Heather Lench, a professor at Texas A and M University in the department of psychological and brain sciences, stated that many individuals view happiness as the ultimate goal and strive to achieve it in their lives.
The belief that being happy is the key to good mental health and overall well-being is commonly held among both everyday people and psychologists. However, previous studies have shown that experiencing a range of emotions, including negative ones like anger, can lead to the most beneficial results.
According to the functionalist theory of emotion, all emotions, positive or negative, are responses to events in one’s surroundings and serve the purpose of signaling important situations that demand action.
Researchers conducted experiments with over 1,000 participants and analyzed survey responses from more than 1,400 individuals in the study.
For every trial, the research prompted participants to experience either an emotional reaction – like anger, amusement, longing, or sorrow – or a neutral emotional state, prior to introducing a difficult objective to the group.
In a particular study, individuals were presented with visual stimuli intended to evoke either emotional or neutral reactions, followed by a task requiring them to solve a sequence of word puzzles.
In a different scenario, the objective was to achieve high scores in a skiing video game by playing two different games. One game required skillful maneuvering to avoid flags on a slalom course, while the other game was simpler and only involved jumping.
The study revealed that experiencing anger during gameplay generally enhanced individuals’ success in achieving their objectives, as opposed to remaining in a neutral state, even when faced with difficult challenges.
In certain cases, the feeling was linked to higher scores or quicker response times.
During a study, it was found that anger can lead to increased instances of cheating in order to achieve a desired outcome.
Information gathered from multiple surveys conducted in both the 2016 and 2020 US presidential elections was also studied.
Prior to the elections, individuals were polled about the level of anger they would experience in the event that their preferred candidate did not emerge victorious.
Following the elections, they indicated whether they participated in voting and their chosen candidate.
Individuals who expressed a potential for anger if their preferred candidate did not emerge victorious were more inclined to participate in the voting process. However, this anger did not influence their choice of candidate.
According to Dr. Lench, this research shows that feeling angry can motivate someone to work harder and achieve their goals, often leading to more successful outcomes.
She mentioned that anger can be a motivating factor for individuals to pursue and successfully achieve their goals, but only in situations where the goals are particularly difficult.
There was no apparent connection between anger and achieving goals in situations where the goals were simpler, as seen in the ski-jump video game.
Dr. Lench observed that while anger was linked to higher levels of achievement in all areas, in certain situations, feelings of amusement or desire were also linked to reaching goals more successfully.
In conclusion, individuals typically choose to utilize positive emotions as resources rather than negative ones, viewing the latter as unwanted and harmful.
Our study contributes to the increasing evidence that a combination of positive and negative emotions can enhance overall happiness, and that utilizing negative emotions as instruments can be especially beneficial in certain circumstances.
The research has been published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.