Is there such as thing as TOO much happiness or joy?
In a study published in the June 2013 issue of Current Directions in Psychological Science, researcher, Joseph Forgas and his colleagues make a convincing case for the benefit of feeling sad, or having a brief bout of depressed mood. No, they are not saying being clinically depressed is a good thing, but their research indicates that a bad mood can bring about greater attention to details, more accurate recall in some situations, and a greater sense of fairness with others. As Forgas says, “Negative feelings are so common and widespread that they must have adaptive functions.”
On the other hand, Forgas and his group recognize that happy and joyous experiences and feelings serve to reinforce something that is pleasing in your life. Maybe you’ll survive longer and pass on more of your genes if you do what brings you happiness more often. Yet, seeing the world more realistically if somewhat negatively may have its survival value as well.
There is strong evidence that people in a depressed mood have a more objective and realistic view of the world than do people high on optimism and feeling bright and cheery. The case for the benefits of occasional down or negative moods has a fair amount of research support. People who are feeling sad and depressed often have a more accurate sense of time, Professor Diana Kornbrot, Research Professor of Mathematical Psychology at the University of Hertfordshire, said: "The results of our study found that depressed people were accurate when estimating time whereas non-depressed peoples' estimations were too high. This may be because mildly-depressed people focus their attention on time and less on external influences, and therefore have clarity of thought—a phenomenon known as 'depressive realism'."