A Bad Mood Can Be Good for You 

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America isn’t in a bad mood. Well, not worse than normal. According to Gallup’s long-running “U.S. Mood” poll, the number of Americans reporting “daily worry and stress without a lot of happiness and enjoyment” hit a four-year high of 13.1% right after the 2016 election before settling back to its usual range of about 9-11%. Which, if you’re one of those 9-11%, is appalling.

Good! Let the anger flow through you! Because as social psychologist Joseph Paul Forgas explains in Quartz, there are psychological benefits to a bad mood.

There are the well-known and long-romanticized effects: Sadness inspires great art, and it helps us appreciate others’ sadness. But Dr. Forgas points out some more quotidian and practical benefits:

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  • Bad moods improve recall memory.
  • While the theory that clinically depressed people have more accurate self-assessments is controversial and limited, a mild bad mood can improve assessments of others.
  • People in a bad mood try harder (and perform better) at tough mental tasks.
  • Bad moods can make people more concerned with fairness.

So when things are actually bad, consider feeling bad! And then use that feeling for something productive. Like calling your congressperson.

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