For years, the advice of psychologists and mothers alike has been to express your emotions in order to achieve a balanced mental state. This might bring up some problems when your anxiety is going to make that presentation look shoddy, but hey, its better to show emotions than be like Spock, right?
Not quite. A new hypothesis on the issue of emotional expression is that were actually better off being flexible about how much we show our feelings – neither letting it all out nor keeping it all in.
In order to test this hypothesis, George Bonanno of Columbia Universitys Teachers College compared college students distress to their ability to control their expression of emotions in a study to be published in the July issue of Psychological Science, a publication of the American Psychological Society. Soon after the September 11 terrorist attacks, he measured New York City college freshmens psychological distress at the attacks as well as the transition to college life, and had them participate in a procedure that had them demonstrate heightened, suppressed, and normal levels of emotion. A year and a half later, the subjects came back and Bonanno once again measured their distress.
George Bonano | EurekAlert!
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