The pursuit of happiness is universal. Most of us would like to experience more joy and elation. But when we feel like we are falling short of this ideal, we can often feel downcast. We may even see 'darker' emotional states, from sadness and anger to envy and anxiety, as character defects or serious illnesses. In fact, there is unexpected value in the emotions most of us see as 'negative'. In subtle ways, the more negative emotions can bring us to a richer state of wellbeing. For example, sadness can open our hearts to the fragile beauty of life, enabling us to appreciate what we would usually take for granted. While anger may seem unpleasant, if channeled well, it can be a great catalyst for change and improvement in society. The Darkness and the Dawn shows how the darker states of emotion are vital to a better understanding of ourselves and a more fulfilled life.
Dr Tim Lomas is one of Europe's leading experts on positive psychology and the programme leader at the University of East London's MSc in Applied Positive Psychology (one of the most highly respected post-graduate courses in Europe). He has written for the Guardian and has published numerous academic papers in high-profile journals, including Psychology, Public Policy and Law, Mindfulness, Psychology and Health and the Journal of Happiness Studies.