You ever have those REALLY bad days? You know the ones: the days where everything just seems to go from bad to worse, and you just can’t catch a break. The days when you find yourself feeling stressed, overwhelmed, angry, or frustrated. I’m pretty sure we’ve all had days like that! On those bad days, it can be tough to feel any sort of positive emotion. Happiness is out the door, and contentment is a distant memory beneath the irritation, anger, helplessness, stress, or the feelings of being utterly and totally overwhelmed. Those are the days when the “bad” emotions really stand out. We snap at others. We’re short-tempered. We can’t even bring ourselves to smile through the tears that we’re crying because we’re emotionally, mentally, and physically exhausted. We all have a tendency to tell ourselves that those emotions really are “bad”. There’s this little voice in our heads—our inner voices and the voices of society at large—telling us that we need to be happy, that we can’t let those emotions get to us. But that is absolutely not the case! One article on Psychology Today compared our moods and emotions to the weather: “Just like our minds, on the earth it rains, then the sun comes out, then it gets foggy. There are many more changes and they will continue to flux and cycle. The key is that there is no inherent goodness or badness about each of the earth's weather states. Sunshine isn't inherently better than rain whether we prefer it or not; both sunshine and rain are simply passing states the earth cycles through.” Now take the word “weather” and replace it with “emotions”. Just like it can be sunny one minute and raining the next, it’s possible to be happy one minute and angry, stressed, sad, or overwhelmed the next. Does that make it bad? No, just like rain or snow aren’t inherently bad. They simply are. You have no control over the weather. You have no control over your mood. You’ll have as much luck telling yourself “Be happy” as you would telling the sky “Give me rain!” Our society is built upon the pursuit of pleasure and the avoidance of pain. In our lives, we want to find the “good” things, anything that makes us “happy”, while avoiding all the “bad” things that make us feel sad, angry, scared, stressed, or helpless. But, as you well know, there’s really no avoiding all those “bad” things. So stop seeing them as bad! No matter how irritating that rain is when you want to go have a picnic at the park, it’s crucial for watering the soil and replenishing water sources. No matter how hard it is to feel the “negative” emotions, they’re a crucial part of the changing, dynamic state that is your mood. Emotions are incredibly fluid. We can shift between one emotional state to the next in record time, but while we’re in each state, those emotions can feel all-consuming. We’ve developed an instinctive desire to quickly get out of the “bad” emotions and into the “good” ones. After all, it feels better to be happy! But that’s not really the case. Each emotion serves a purpose. Anger allows you to explore the things that frustrate you. Sadness gives you a deeper understanding of the things that hurt you or make you feel isolated, alienated, misunderstood, or forgotten. Stress shows you your limitations. Every emotion is there for a reason—if you’re always running from one to the next, you’ll miss out on their value. Quit thinking of them as good or bad emotions. Instead, simply FEEL them. Be aware of each emotion, and treat them as an individual component of your overall emotional makeup. Examine them, dive into what’s triggering them, and use them to help you grow in your understanding of yourself and others. And trust that the emotional state, no matter how negative and all-consuming it appears to be, will pass. Glean the important information you can from each emotion while it lasts, and accept that soon enough, the sun is going to come out!