Bad Mood Can Make You Productive?

We all have have been bombarded with advice such as "Think positive", Banish negative thoughts", "Always try to be in a good mood.", "See the brighter side of life" , "Count your blessings" and so on and so forth.

Self-help books are rife with such advice about positivity and the superiority of being in a state of happiness all the time. But is forcing oneself to be happy all the time a good thing?

Bad mood makes you productive

Feeling sad isn't as bad as you think.


According to "Psychology Today", this societal overemphasis on positive emotions and underrating negative emotions is not a good thing. Pretending to be happy or forcibly trying to repress a negative emotion could in fact make a person feel more worse or depressed.

Psychology professor, Svend Brinkmann in his bestseller Stand Firm: Resisting the Self-Improvement Craze says, “I believe our thoughts and emotions should mirror the world. When something bad happens, we should be allowed to have negative thoughts and feelings about it because that’s how we understand the world.”

There’s nothing wrong with those who have a naturally sunny disposition or who enjoy the odd self-help book. The problem is when happiness becomes a requisite, adds Brinkmann .

The more pressure a person receives from his social environment not to experience negative emotions, the more likely that person is to experience an increase in depressive symptoms.

Pushing back negative emotions could spawn more emotional overeating than simply recognizing that you were, say, upset, agitated or blue. [Source].

Never suppress your negative feelings. The best way to get rid of a negative feeling as quickly as possible is not to push it away, but to accept it. Acknowledge how you are feeling without rushing to change your emotional state.

Learning how to cope with those emotions is the key. .

So if you are in a bad mood, don't feel guilty about it and pressurize yourself to change your emotion. Negative emotions are important for our overall well-being and mental health.

Can being in a bad mood make you more productive?


A recent study has found something positive about being in a grumpy mood.  Excerpts [Sources 1,2]:
A new research has shown that for some people, being in a bad mood can help focus attention, manage time, and prioritise tasks better.

In fact, researchers found being in a good mood may hamper time-keeping and organizational skills.

However, this was only true for extroverts - while introverts ground to a halt when they felt gloomy.

The study used data from 95 participants asked to complete nine distinct tasks and answer questions on their mood and personality type. For high-reactive individuals, a worse mood was associated with better performance.

Meanwhile, low-reactive people showed the opposite effect: their abilities would grind down to a halt when they were in a bad mood.

'Our results show that there are some people for whom a bad mood may actually hone the kind of thinking skills that are important for everyday life,' said McAuley.

Being in a more positive mood didn't seem to have any impact on the cognitive performance of either high-reactive or low-reactive individuals.

Researchers however warn, 'People shouldn't interpret the results as saying it's fine to fly off the handle or overreact, or to be grouchy.'

With a relatively small number of students as the sample in this study, plenty more research is going to be needed to better understand what's going on here – more people, across more ages.

There is previous research looking at the good that can come out of a bad mood though: as long as those feelings are temporary, psychologists think they can help us better deal with everyday challenges and hard situations.

And now, for some of us at least, it appears a bad mood really can lead to a good day - as far as getting through tasks is concerned.


Bad Mood helped me complete my tasks way quicker than usual.


Well, I have to admit that I'm not a very organized person and am often prone to procrastination. But it was one of those days or rather that time of the month (PMS) when I was feeling irritable and edgy.

I was feeling upset at the slightest things happening around me and I was particularly mad at someone in my family for something that happened though it wasn't that poor person's fault.

With such a temperament, I locked myself in my room in front of my laptop and set about to complete the tasks assigned to me. And surprisingly, I completed the chores in a matter of 2 hours;  usually it  takes me 4 hours to complete it if I'm in a normal frame of mind.

I felt elated at my productiveness that day. And my foul mood vanished all of a sudden to be replaced by a feeling of contentment. This change of mood should always be a natural occurrence; one should never forcibly try to change it!

It's also a myth that women aren't at their productive best and experience brain fog when they are in the throes of PMS. Somehow bad mood did help me to be productive that day!

As a matter of fact,  I am not much of an extrovert; so even though the study concludes that this does not  hold true for introverts, this was not applicable to me.

And I have to mention that this was not a one-off occurrence. Many a times when I'm not particularly feeling too good, I have noticed that I tend to be more productive.

So I kind of agree with this study, though this 'introvert' part doesn't fit in my case.

Final Thoughts

So dear readers, has bad mood ever goaded you to become productive? How do you deal with your moods and negative emotions? Do you try to stifle your negative feelings or do you embrace it and experience it? Do share your thoughts in the comments.

Also read: Managing Interruptions Effectively And Becoming More Productive.

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  1. Dr Pooja4:52 PM

    Unhappy vibes could help power your productivity
    for some people, being in a bad mood can help focus attention, manage time, and prioritise tasks better.

  2. Seema4:53 PM

    there are some people for whom a bad mood may actually hone the kind of thinking skills that are important for everyday life


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