Negative emotions can bring success, but at a cost, study says

Washington, March 4: Fear and anger can be used to achieve greater success than joy and relaxation, but at the expense of your health. Multinational research led by the University of Essex has revealed how the mind processes ‘success emotions’.

The paper, published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, scientifically identified the 12 emotions that drive and influence success. Although fear and anger are considered negative emotions, they have been discovered to provide energy, much like joy and hope. Also read | Influenza A subtype H3N2 is the leading cause of current respiratory illnesses in India, says ICMR.

However, these darker feelings are associated with a lack of strategic thinking and poor health, including stress-related psychosomatic symptoms such as headaches, nausea, back pain and lack of sleep. Also read | Coca-Cola, Pepsi to improve men’s sex life? Study suggests large amounts of fizzy drinks can increase testosterone levels and testicle size

Overall, hope is the strongest emotion – with the study discovering that positive cognitions and feelings of control lead to enjoyment in learning, a desire to succeed, and pride in achievement.

It turned out that if two students of equal ability took a test, the hopeful student would get a grade better than their negative-minded peer.

This can mean that the less optimistic person gets a failing D, while the positive student takes home a C.

Study leader Professor Reinhard Pekrun from the Department of Psychology in Essex said: “This is the first study to develop a 3D model for emotions of success.

“Although the model may seem abstract at first glance, it shows how achievement emotions are related to critically important parts of our lives and can define how we perform on job interviews, tests and other stressful situations.

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“Interestingly, we found that emotions like fear and anger sometimes motivate us more than joy or relaxation.

“However, despite its energizing powers, razor-edge anxiety can lead to psychological problems, undermine immune system function and lead to long-term performance decline. “Hope overall was the healthiest and best way to ignite success and foster long-term happiness.

“Failure and struggle in themselves do not determine the future, it is the perception of failure that has a powerful impact on emotional responses.” The psychological study involved students from multiple universities and the general adult population. It took place in four different countries – UK, Germany, America and Canada.

It looked at more than 1,000 people and rated them in various challenging situations at university and in the workplace. It is now hoped that research will influence how coaches, teachers and managers inspire success.

The paper found that promoting the value, importance and interest of tasks, rather than emphasizing success, leads to better outcomes. The results show that showing enthusiasm can be important for leaders to instill enthusiasm and hope in colleagues, students and athletes.

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