Unconscious acceptance of your current situation — good or bad — works better in regulating frustrating emotion, say researchers from Southwest University of China.
They showed that unconscious priming of acceptance attitude works well in reducing frustrating emotion, at little cost of cognitive efforts but producing best mood stability during frustration.
This provides an important perspective to cope daily frustration, the education of adaptive coping and the development of a healthy personality.
Life is full of aborted goals, from dating, university admission to job hunting and so on. Where there is goal pursuit, there are setbacks and frustration.
“Thus, the effective coping of frustration is of vital importance to human life, both social functioning and health. The acceptance has proven useful in mitigating the long-term consequence of negative events,” said Jiajin Yuan, associate professor of psychology in Southwest University.
This study used a difficult arithmetic task paired with feedback to induce frustrating emotion.
The results confirmed that conscious, effortful acceptance of frustrating emotion resulted in a short-term reduction of positive effects.
To induce unconscious acceptance, subjects were asked to select four out of five words, one of which is semantically related to “acceptance”, to make up a proper sentence.
This strategy encourages people to adopt an accepting, observing, non-judgmental attitude to frustrating emotions, rather than trying to avoid or modify them.
However, the conscious acceptance of negative emotions may intensify immediate unpleasant feelings, despite benefits for long-term health.
“Also, exercising acceptance entails dropping our natural, instinctual responses to frustration, but instead learning to accept whatever we experience. Obviously, this process is costly and effortful,” Yuan added.
These results may have implication for early education of frustration coping.
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