Our society has taught us a lesson or two on how to hide powerful emotions, but according to research, inhibiting strong emotions can actually have a negative impact on our health.

Rather than bottling up strong emotions, the study’s author, Dr. Allison Troy, suggests we “reframe” our thoughts – this is called cognitive reappraisal.

“Our research is among the first to suggest that cognitive reappraisal may actually have negative effects on psychological health in certain contexts,” states Dr. Troy.

Context is very important when it comes to reframing, because all emotional situations are different, which makes it more difficult to reframe some situations over others depending on the emotion one is feeling. Using cognitive reappraisal is found to be much more effective in a situation where one does not have control over the stressor, like dealing with a loved one’s illness. On the other hand, using cognitive reappraisal in a situation where an individual has control over the stressor can be more harmful than good, considering it becomes more of a denial strategy rather than a reframing one.

According to Dr. Troy, not all reframing strategies are adaptive to every situation, but having more active strategies like “problem-solving and seeking social support” can help in more controllable contexts.

Overall, a variety of different strategies are important to use and consider when managing emotions, rather than relying on just one strategy for all instances.