The upside of feeling down
Australian Women’s Weekly NZ|May 2021
“Don’t worry, be happy” was the anthem of an entire generation. Yet it could be that sadness, guilt, shame and the like – often branded as negative emotions – are the feelings that really get us there in the end.
BROOKE LE POER TRENCH

In the animated film Inside Out, the character named Sadness saves the day. This may be a story designed to teach children the importance of listening to their feelings, but there are many grown-ups who stand to benefit too – this writer included.

I’ve always prided myself on being an optimist, perhaps exacerbated by my husband’s propensity for what I like to call “dark-cloud thinking” (to be clear, I say this as a veiled insult at dinner parties and family gatherings). But it’s recently dawned on me that he’s got the right idea, and my insistence on blue-sky thinking at all times could actually be a kind of self-harm.

“The point isn’t that we should question the value of feeling good,” says research psychologist and trauma expert Dr Sarah Woodhouse, author of You’re Not Broken. “But rather, acknowledge that there is so much to be gained from the emotions that we tend to shut down, like anger, envy or shame.”

It may come as no surprise that women, especially, are conditioned to minimise feelings that have a negative connotation. Turns out, even doctors who specialise in processing them get caught up. “I have a group of friends who could be described as emotionally literate, and yet we’ll all regularly say to one another, ‘I feel so angry/sad/flat today … but I’m okay.’ It’s as if wrapped up in these emotions is the idea that if you feel them, you’re not okay,” Dr Woodhouse says.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM AUSTRALIAN WOMEN’S WEEKLY NZView All

SLAVE TO THE GURU

Hiding beneath a facade of self-help, unscrupulous operators are exploiting the vulnerable for profit, power and sexual gratification. Now, the victims and their families are speaking out to raise awareness and caution others.

10+ mins read
Australian Women’s Weekly NZ
July 2021

How to have a healthy gut

The secret to ageing well could rest within your gut, which scientists now know plays a crucial role in important body systems, including immunity, metabolism and even how happy we can feel. Here’s how to maximise your gut health so everything else ticks along nicely.

6 mins read
Australian Women’s Weekly NZ
July 2021

The Kiwis going for GOLD

From track stars to legends in the pool, we take a look at New Zealand’s elite performers hoping to make it onto the winner’s podium

10+ mins read
Australian Women’s Weekly NZ
July 2021

Lisa's Olympic dream ‘I'm in it for love – not medals!'

Our canoeing golden girl Lisa Carrington talks to Emma Clifton about being newly engaged, what drives her remarkable success and her Tokyo goals.

10+ mins read
Australian Women’s Weekly NZ
July 2021

The avant-garde Princess Margaret

In the 1960s they were the royal glamour couple, but the ritzy world of Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones stood in stark contrast to her sister the Queen’s.

10+ mins read
Australian Women’s Weekly NZ
July 2021

Golriz's gift “I'll always speak my truth”

The refugee MP opens up about being a minority in Parliament and her brave battle with multiple sclerosis.

8 mins read
Australian Women’s Weekly NZ
July 2021

Sidekicks

Brussels sprouts are at their best in winter. The key when cooking is to keep it brief – simply boil, steam, roast or fry until just tender.

1 min read
Australian Women’s Weekly NZ
July 2021

Q: Why can't I quit sugar? A: You can

According to leading Australian researcher David Gillespie, many of us have everyday dependencies based on the same basic biochemistry as an addiction to hard drugs. Here’s how to find out if you’re hooked.

5 mins read
Australian Women’s Weekly NZ
July 2021

From my kitchen Sian Redgrave

This month Sian shares one of her favourite things to cook, inspired by a traditional Italian recipe, seasonal produce and wonderful memories of eating as a child. Sian’s food is created with love, colour and flavour.

3 mins read
Australian Women’s Weekly NZ
July 2021

Arch rivals

Discovering the power of groomed brows is a defining beauty moment. For the uninitiated, it’s a simple way to hit refresh.

2 mins read
Australian Women’s Weekly NZ
July 2021