Is Your Bad Mood Actually Good For You?
The Debrief: It's good news for my fellow non-morning people.
Grumpy Cat knew it all along: being in a bad mood could actually be good for your wellbeing. And I’m not just talking about the $100 million, two book deals and your own brand of iced coffee you could earn if you have a permanent resting bitch face and feline dwarfism, but some actual science applicable to real humans.
A new study by University College London has seen results suggesting that ever-changing moods serve us an important purpose by helping us adapt to different situations. If we’re having a great time and loving life (gained 10+ Insta followers in one day), we start to take more risks as they are more likely to be rewarded.
For example, a man who has enjoyed success at gambling may start placing larger and larger bets as he becomes more optimistic about his prospects.
But similarly, when times are hard (Insta followers turned out to be porn bots), our corresponding low mood can help us to conserve our energy and protect us from the harsh reality of life.
So, if our gambling friend has had a bad run of late, the resulting low means he might stop taking so many risks until he felt brave enough to try again.
Eran Eldar, who ran the study at UCL, found that animals exhibited similar behaviours – like hibernating in the winter to conserve energy when not much food is about. I mean, why waste all that energy being awake when you can’t even eat? (Seriously though, I ask myself this all the time.)
The study then found that the animal’s mood would improve when it stumbled across food, like when it spotted a large amount of fruit in a tree. The sight of the fruit would encourage the animal to risk climbing a neighbouring tree branch – owing to the good conditions (proximity of fruit) it makes it more likely there will be more food near them. But exhibiting the same good mood and optimisim in the winter wouldn't have had such a positive result.
So next time a builder helpfully yells, 'Cheer up love, it might never happen,' at you when you're just trying to get from A to B, take heart. The resulting rage you feel will only serve to protect you, ENSURING that ‘it,’ whatever ‘it’ may be, will never happen.
Thanks, sexist builders, thanks a lot.
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