Positive Emotions and Asians
Much research has shown that what a person portrays as reality can become their reality. If you smile even when you’re sad you will become less sad. Does this always work?
According to a new study, posted on EurekAlert , performed by psychologists at the University of Washington, this might be true for many European Americans but is found lacking for the Asian American population.
This study published in the online journal Emotion , showed that for Asian Americans there was no correlation between positive emotions and less stress or depression as was shown for their European-American counter parts.
The study’s findings reveal that Asians interpret and react to positive emotions differently in regards to their mental health. This is significant considering that Asian make up 60% of the world population.
For example, upon winning an award the typical Asian response would be “I’m so happy I’m afraid.” Their achievement would trigger feelings of happiness for the achievement combined with concern that others would be jealous.
The researchers suggest that the blending of emotions is common among Asians and may be contributed to by Buddhist beliefs and yin-yang attitudes, that happiness either leads to suffering or is impossible to obtain and that life is a natural balance of good and bad.
Janxin Leu, UW assistant professor of psychology purports, mindfulness therapies that encourage patients to pay attention to the good and bad will likely work better and [patients should] “observe when they feel good and bad and notice that both will disappear. Everything passes.”
This analysis suggests that although humans share seven universal facial expressions of emotion (fear, sadness, anger, contempt, surprise, joy and disgust) across cultures our internalization of these emotions is divergent because of cultural differences and traditions.