No matter how you slice it up, waiting sucks, especially when you’re waiting on important news. So how do you cope? Do you try to push bad feelings down via yoga breathing or canned champagne or whatever, or do you embrace the fact that the news might be bad? A new study says it’s better if you’re in the latter group. Worrying helps in the long run. At least you’ve been doing that right.
The study, recently published in the incredibly awesome-sounding journal Emotion, looked at law school grads waiting for the results of the California bar exam they took in July 2013. It surveyed those students every two weeks during the four months (!!) they spent waiting on their results, and again just after they received them. Participants fell into one of two categories: those who sought to shelve their worries with activities and distractions, and those who actively, obsessively dwelled on the worst-case scenario of failure. The study’s Dr. Kate Sweeny of University of California, Riverside, told the New York Times that in the end, the worriers were better off:
“The poor waiters did great,” Dr. Sweeny said. If the news was bad, the worriers were ready with productive, reasonable responses. “And if they passed, they were elated.” But woe to those who had remained calm. “Those who sailed through the waiting period were shattered and paralyzed by the bad news,” Dr. Sweeny said. “And if they got good news, they felt underwhelmed. You know, like, ‘Big whoops!’”
Pretty sure you meant “big whoop,” Kate, but don’t worry about it. Anyways, pessimism is actually good for you! It turns out “Hakuna Matata” was bullshit.
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