Monday, December 05, 2011

Do we have to be sad?

Some new research challenges a myth that has been around since Freud.  When someone important to us passes away, or some other major traumatic event happens, we are expected to have a rush a sadness, distress, and grief.  If we don’t, then everyone around us warns that it is going to come out eventually, so we should just “let it out.”  Or even seek therapy to help deal with these buried emotions.

Well, it turns out that some people are just more emotionally resilient than others.  It doesn’t mean we didn’t care about the person who passed away, it just means that our emotional constitution doesn’t bend as much in the face of adversity.  You don’t need therapy, you don’t need medication, you don’t need to “let it out.”  You just need these people to leave you alone.

If you need a reference to prove this to the people always getting on your case, there is an article in the November/December 2011 issue of Scientific American Mind that cites research by Camille Wortman of Stony Brook University, Kathrin Boerner of Mount Sinai School of Medicine, and George Bonanno of Columbia University.  Plenty of ammunition. It's behind a firewall, so you will have to Google it.

No comments: