Culture Articles

Why it’s good that London makes you furious

Positive psychology lecturer Dr Tim Lomas on how to turn negative emotions into something truly beneficial

Portrait of a real caucasian young man with screaming with excited expression looking at camera. Brown eyes and hair with beard. 35 years old north american. Vertical color image from a dslr camera in studio.


London scenario: He's been given his Jiangsu Ginger Blend tea before you. But you ordered first. And you're waiting in the "I really can't hang around" spot at the far left of the counter. This is unbearable. Nothing will ever be worse than this.
Tim's good news: "Feeling angry and being angry are two different things. Feeling angry can just be an indication something’s not right. It's information that can lead you to try and sort an issue out by talking to people. Anger can give you useful information as long as you don't let it overwhelm you."


London scenario: Forgot to charge your phone, didn't you? So you're on the Tube, staring at the midriff opposite, with no distraction from the inner voice insisting you can't just eat toast every night.
Tim's good news: "Give a boring situation a chance and it can become interesting. Your preconceptions turn it into a bad thing. If you don’t leap off into distraction and allow yourself to be bored, then interesting things emerge. You can have a revelation that might not have occurred to you. Just sit there."


London scenario: A twang of remorse as a preposterously inaccurate SpareRoom profile helps you beat hundreds of others to a flat share. "I just love socialising!" you typed midway through a four-day Yazoo-fuelled Football Manager binge.
Tim's good news: "Not all guilt means you’ve done something wrong. It’s our unconscious speaking to us about our past behaviour. You're not meant to feel bad. You need to use it to learn, or to right your moral compass."


London scenario: Viewing a hated colleague's Instagram reveals they've got a table at the exclusive new rice'n'pretzels pop-up. "But they told me there was a three-decade wait!" you howl at the Moon.
Tim's good news: "Envy is so prevalent in the age of social media. There are two kinds of envy: corrosive envy which makes you angry and brings you down, and emulative envy which is more like admiration. It can help you work out what might be missing from your own life."


London scenario: After a couple of 8% Elderberry Stouts let your guard down, you speak up: "We're all moaning about gentrification, but aren't we part of it? Didn't we start it all off? Aren't we all total hypocrites?" No one speaks to you ever again.
Tim's good news: "There’s a difference between loneliness and solitude. Both are about being alone but loneliness is when we resent and fear it. Solitude is valuing being alone. It's actually easier to feel this in London – everywhere's crowded so you crave personal space."

The Positive Power Of Negative Emotions by Dr Tim Lomas is out now

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