Benefits of Negative Emotions

Benefits of the Negative Emotions


Challenges us to right a wrong; calls us to decisive action to protect from harm something that we judge to be of genuine value;

it leads to action in pursuit of justice.


affirms the necessary boundaries that support our sense of self; warns of the risks of premature exposure; protects the privacy that makes genuine intimacy possible;

it is one of the roots of personal dignity.


reminds us of the shape of our best self; alerts us to discrepancies between ideals and behavior; defends the commitments and value-choices through which we give meaning to our life;

it supports our sense of personal integrity.


alerts us that something has become intolerable; ordinary (rather than clinical) depression invites us to re-examine our life; its misery motivares us to face a challenge or loss we have been avoiding;

it can ready us for mature grieving and change.

WHITEHEAD, E.A. – WHITEHEAD, J.D., Shadows of the Heart, (U.S.A. 2003), 7.