Looks like some nasty habits aren’t so nasty after all. Commenting in a recent article in O Magazine, Bryan Gibson, professor of social psychology at Central Michigan University, says: “In certain situations, what is typically a detrimental trait can turn out to be a good one.”
And just what is he talking about? Being negative, swearing, and getting pissed.
“Picture the worst-case scenario and work your way backwards,” says Nicole Jordan, our resident PR pro. And she’s right — focusing on the negative outcomes help us prepare and thus overcome difficulties.
“Defensive pessimism—thinking specifically about what might go wrong—can turn anxiety into action,” says Julie K. Norem, professor of psychology at Wellesley College and the author of The Positive Power of Negative Thinking.
Bad words make you feel better! According to a recent study published in NeuroReport, participants who immersed their hands in icy water and were allowed to shout bad words experienced significantly less prickly, numbing pain than when they said neutral words. The reason? Swearing seems to activate the stress response, boosting our pain thresholds to better deal with crisis.
And by that, we don’t mean piss drunk. Though we’re sure researchers could find a good reason to get wasted if they really tried. Anyway, get this, so long as your rage isn’t a recurring thing, getting angry when you face a difficult situation does help deal with stress.
According to Jennifer Lerner, director of the Harvard Decision Science Laboratory, reacting with focused anger instead of allowing yourself to get carried away with anxiety releases less of the stress hormone cortisol. Less stress means less likelihood of losing bone mass, becoming depressed or obese. Fantastic!
So, cherish your pessimism, embrace your inner sailor and for the love of all things good and decent, let yourself get seriously pissed every once in a blue moon instead of “dealing with it.”
It’s good for you, trust us.