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Description: How important and how valuable in terms of long-term wellbeing are mindfulness and positivity? Well, if you have been paying just half-attention to well-ness buzz in the media in recent years you will probably say that positivity and mindfulness are two of the corner stones of success and wellbeing. I don’t really want to talk you out of that view if you hold to it as that would be a nasty thing to do but how about this question? Can you think of situations or circumstances where version of grumpiness and angriness might actually be good for you? And might there be ways in which having grumpiness and angriness (or perhaps surliness) might be good for you? Intrigued? Have a read through the article linked below to see what quite a bit of Psychological research has to say about all of these questions.

Source: Why it Pays to Be Grumpy and Bad-Tempered, Zaria Gorvett, BBC Future.

Date: January 30, 2021

Photo Credit:  Image by Tracy Lundgren from Pixabay

Article Link:

The research talked about in the linked article mirrors other work on the personality dimension of Agreeableness. We might naturally think that being agreeable would be a good trait to have. It would make us easier to get along with, wouldn’t it? Sure, but perhaps there is a line between agreeable and gullible. Being less agreeable means that you are more likely to think critically about claims others make and, perhaps, be more likely to think things through and make you own decision. That is very much like the research on grumpiness. It suggests that a little anger here and there provides better outcomes for us and a singular focus on positivity contributes to binge drinking, overeating, and unsafe sex. So, perhaps in stead of sorting emotions into bad and good or negative and positive piles we should pay a bit closer attention to what ALL emotions or personality traits might do for us, including grumpiness.

Questions for Discussion:

  1. What good might come of being somewhat grumpy or somewhat angry more of the time?
  2. What might some of the limitations of all the time positivity be?
  3. What might a balance of positivity and grumpiness look like? How might we manage the balance (and know how to make adjustments to it)?

References (Read Further):

Sinaceur, M., Van Kleef, G. A., Neale, M. A., Adam, H., & Haag, C. (2011). Hot or cold: Is communicating anger or threats more effective in negotiation?. Journal of Applied Psychology, 96(5), 1018. Link

Neff, L. A., & Geers, A. L. (2013). Optimistic expectations in early marriage: A resource or vulnerability for adaptive relationship functioning?. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 105(1), 38. Link

Henley, A., Dawson, C. G., de Meza, D., & Arabsheibani, G. R. (2015). The Power of (Non) Positive Thinking: Self-Employed Pessimists Earn More than Optimists. Link

Lang, F. R., Weiss, D., Gerstorf, D., & Wagner, G. G. (2013). Forecasting life satisfaction across adulthood: Benefits of seeing a dark future?. Psychology and Aging, 28(1), 249. Link

Gruber, J., Mauss, I. B., & Tamir, M. (2011). A dark side of happiness? How, when, and why happiness is not always good. Perspectives on psychological science, 6(3), 222-233. Link

Baas, M., De Dreu, C. K., & Nijstad, B. A. (2011). Creative production by angry people peaks early on, decreases over time, and is relatively unstructured. Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, 47(6), 1107-1115. Link

Sell, A., Cosmides, L., & Tooby, J. (2014). The human anger face evolved to enhance cues of strength. Evolution and Human Behavior, 35(5), 425-429. Link

Judge, T. A., Livingston, B. A., & Hurst, C. (2012). Do nice guys—and gals—really finish last? The joint effects of sex and agreeableness on income. Journal of personality and social psychology, 102(2), 390. Link