Expressing is the least possible way of communicating your feelings to the other person. It's something that allows the other person to understand if you're happy, excited, sad or depressed. And it is also something that doesn't come easy to many. You must have heard that a lot of people find it difficult to express their emotions or feelings which ultimately makes it all the more problematic as majorly everything stays in their heart and mind. But a recent study based on negative emotion differentiation or NED says that teenagers who can express their negative emotions in the precise way are mostly protected against depression as compared to those who can't.
Lisa Starr, lead author of the study published in the journal of ‘Emotion’ explained, “Adolescents who use more granular terms such as ‘I feel annoyed,’ or ‘I feel frustrated,’ or ‘I feel ashamed’ instead of simply saying ‘I feel bad’ are better protected against developing increased depressive symptoms after experiencing a stressful life event.”
Other than that, the ones who score low on negative emotion differentiation usually use general terms like 'upset' or 'bad' to express how they feel. This doesn't allow them to benefit much from the useful lessons based on their negative emotions which also include the ability to develop coping strategies which will only help them regulate the way they feel.
Says Starr, “Emotions convey a lot of information. They communicate information about the person’s motivational state, level of arousal, emotional valence, and appraisals of the threatening experience,”
A person must use all the information that is required to figure out the way he/she is feeling in terms of negative emotions like irritation, annoyance, embarrassment or anger. Once you have all the information, it becomes easy for you to help pick a way of expression to take action.
“It’s going to help me predict how my emotional experience will unfold, and how I can best regulate these emotions to make myself feel better,” Starr said.
The team found out that a low NED can help strengthen the link between stressful events in life and depression which leads to reduced psychological well-being. Adolescence being the highest risk for depression, the study only focused on this age group.
In comparison to younger crowd and adults, it is during adolescence that a person's NED goes to its lowest point. And this is when the development is crucial and depression rate climbs steadily. The research also found that teenagers who are poor at differentiating their negative emotions are all the more likely to depressive symptoms which leads to stressful events of life.
And the ones who showcase high NED are rather good at managing their emotions and behavioural aftermath of stress which reduces the negative emotions escalation into depression eventually.