Good days at work don't happen every day. In fact, a mere 3 out of 10 people feel fully engaged at their jobs, which is reason to believe that most workers might not be in the best moods while in the office.

Fortunately, a new study finds that being in a bad mood might actually do some good. According to researchers at the University of Waterloo, a bad mood can actually help your executive functioning, which includes your ability to manage time, focus, and prioritize what needs to be done. This study also found that in some cases, a good mood could have a negative effect on these skills and duties.

Psychology professor Tara McAuley and PhD candidate Martyn S. Gabel discovered the ways in which someone's mood influences the thinking skills necessary for navigating stress and obligations. 

They ultimately found that individuals who are highly reactive (people who have emotional responses that are intense and enduring) actually do better on executive function tasks when they are in a bad mood. However, individuals who are low-reactive tend to perform worse executive functioning. 

According to McAuley, "Emotional reactivity differs from person to person starting at a very early age" and these "individual differences have implications for mental health later in development." 

But if you consider yourself as more emotionally reactive than not, you can benefit from negative emotions because you may be more accustomed to experiencing them. This will make you more equipped to handle bad moods, as they are "less distracting" for you in comparison to lower-reactive individuals.

Regardless of a bad mood's possible benefits, keeping your mood in check at the office can still be beneficial for your employer, employees, and others around you. Career coach Kristina Leonardi suggests using the bad mood as "an exercise in the discipline of being in the present and concentrating on the task at hand." Instead of fixating on your mood -- whether it be good or bad -- you can always try just zeroing in on the tasks at hand to get your work done.

Published on: Aug 10, 2018