7 So-Called ‘Negative’ Behaviors That Are Actually Healthy

Image via Unsplash/Mathew Wiebe

So you’re really angry and about to Hulk out when you stop yourself and bottle up the rage, shoving it way down deep; you know you’ll still feel angry and unsatisfied, but getting angry is bad. Or maybe you just want to be alone, but you’re afraid people will think you’re antisocial and weird, so you force yourself to go out with a huge crowd, because it’s not healthy to spend much time alone. Right? Or… wrong?

As it turns out, a lot of things that we traditionally consider negative behaviors are actually good for you, so if you feel like doing or feeling any of the seven things on this list, go right ahead — you might be doing yourself a favor.

1. Crying

Crying is part of the healing process; as explained on PBS’s This Emotional Life, the act of crying can both elevate your mood and reduce stress. It’s also cathartic. Instead of viewing tears as something embarrassing or a sign of weakness that should be avoided or suppressed, consider them a healthy part of the grieving process.

2. Anger

Anger helps us protect our own interests and identify the weaknesses and strengths in relationships. According to How Stuff Works, people who use anger to address issues that are bothering them tend to make positive changes, while those who hold their anger in may be more depressed than those who release it. In addition, studies have shown that women who suppress their anger may be more likely to die than those who don’t. So the next time you feel like you should bottle up your rage, think about how you can improve your situation by using that anger to your advantage (as long as you’re not planning on murdering anyone).

3. Being Alone

Loners are often viewed with suspicion, but solitude is often essential for stimulating creativity and self-reflection. Taking the time to be alone, away from constant outside stimulation, helps us process our thoughts and reflect on the experiences we’ve had; being alone can also be a way for some people to recharge. Embrace your fortress of solitude!

4. Not Fitting In

Not everyone needs to be exactly the same — and not everyone is the same. Embracing your individuality will increase your self-confidence and make you proud of your uniqueness; instead of worrying about whether you’re not doing the right things and getting bogged down in all the things you think are “wrong” with you, you’ll be able to move through life with the confidence to step outside the box and do things your way.

5. Sadness

Sadness is a critical part of life. Emotions like sadness help us make sense of life’s ups and downs, according to Scientific American, and allow us to grow and understand ourselves better by confronting adversities. Ignoring sadness will not make it go away, nor will it make you better able to deal with future sadness — in fact, forcing yourself to be positive may have an adverse effect, causing us to ignore certain dangers or become complacent and unrealistic. By acknowledging emotions like sadness, we learn to cope with those emotions.

6. Lack Of Direction

“When we are lost, it makes us pay attention to the moment and to our instincts,” says Lifehack. “If you have ever been lost in a big city or a foreign land, you likely also made some wonderful discoveries while trying to find your way.” Being lost — in life as well as literally — allows us to discover things about ourselves we might not have otherwise discovered, and it leads us down different paths than the ones we might have expected to take.

7. Cravings

We’re always told to ignore our cravings, to bottle them up and pretend that they don’t exist. But a 2009 study conducted by psychologist David J. Kavanagh of Queensland University of Technology in Australia found that suppressing cravings might actually lead to more. During the study, Kavangh and his colleagues asked people in treatment for alcohol abuse and addiction to complete a questionnaire that assessed their “drinking-related urges and cravings,” as well as any attempts to suppress thoughts related to alcohol over the previous 24 hours. The result? They found that those who often fought against intrusive alcohol-related thoughts actually had more of them. So if you’re trying to push those food cravings aside, for example, you may actually end up doing even more stress eating than if you had just acknowledged that had a craving in the first place.