For some, they said, feeling fear and stress from flying out of a half-pipe with your skateboard or jumping out of a plane may train your brain to deal with those emotions in others. parts of your life.
Loosen up a bit.
Psychologists once saw the human psyche as a hose or pipe that was sometimes filled with emotions, and that people needed to release the pressure to stay healthy. The “Catharsis Theory,” as it was called, said that if you’re angry, you should go out and drive nails.
This notion hasn’t held up well, in part because researchers have found that when angry people let off steam by hammering nails, they often come back just as angry (or angrier) than before. And yet, the catharsis is real; it’s a good cry over a sad movie or even a night out eating the spiciest tacos you can stomach. Crying in particular can help us process emotions and release anxiety, said Lauren M. Bylsma, an emotion expert at the University of Pittsburgh. And that’s why athletes can feel great after a competitive game or a scary ski race.
“When you have a high level of emotion and you have this release, it can have this cathartic experience and you kind of feel this release of tension,” she said. “I could see that applied not only to crying or sadness, but also to fear.”
Sometimes a little aggression can help.
So what about the negative emotions that sometimes help us clear our minds?
“You can’t clearly divide emotions into positive or negative,” said Abigail Marsh, associate professor of psychology at Georgetown University and author of “The Fear Factor: How One Emotion Connects Altruists, Psychopaths, and Everyone In Between. “. “Anger, for some people, is described as a negative feeling. But other people describe it as a positive feeling.
Nowhere is this more evident than in competitive sports for young people, which Dr Marsh called a “formalized and culturally acceptable form of aggression”. Parents may send unruly children to soccer, karate, or wrestling in hopes that it will somehow level them. But does he?
Over the years, numerous studies have shown that young people, often men, who play aggressive sports tend to approve of violence and even resort to it more often than people who play other sports or non-athletes. But Mitch Abrams, a Tinton Falls, NJ-based sports psychologist and athletics anger management expert, said that paints too broad a stroke.