In my blogs I would like to take the opportunity to share with you some of the research findings that are going on in the field of Positive Psychology conducted by various research psychologists. I will feature practical applications of this science that you can put to use immediately to help you live a full and meaningful life.
We are human beings that often experience and feel an array of emotions from positive to negative. I would like you to take a moment and close your eyes. Think of a negative situation that you may have experienced recently. Really remember what happened, who was there and how you felt. I don’t want you to stay there to long but how did your body feel? Did you clench up, did you want to act out in anger? Did you narrow your thinking to only focus on the situation at hand that you were upset about? Now let’s go to a positive experience. Again, close your eyes, think of a wonderful event, something that brought you great joy, a feeling of gratitude, pride, love for instance. Feel that in your body? How did that make you feel? When I do this quick experiment in my workshops often people tell me they feel relaxed, they don’t want to leave the positive experience. They feel open, expansive, they see more possibilities and are more creative. Emotions are not just feelings. They are more dynamic than that, they affect everything in your body. Barbara Frederickson feels that these positive emotions which illicit more positive actions. For example:
- Gratitude……creative giving
- Serenity……savor and integrate
- Hope……yearn for positive change
- Pride….dream big
- Amusement…..shared laughter, insight
- Inspiration…..aspire to excellence
- Awe……accommodate the new
- Love…..all of the above
Barbara Frederickson has done research on these positive emotions and came up with the Broaden and Build Theory. She states that positive emotions affect us more in the future and help us become better versions of ourselves. They Broaden our mindsets and the value of having more positive emotions is that we can than build our resources and change who we are making us more resilient and connected. Positive emotions are like “nutrients” enlarging our mind to grow and change and be our best self. They are subtle and often times fleeting but they are like “tiny engines” that can drive our growth. Emotions also have a contagion affect. If we are angry or frustrated it often leads to blame but if we are experiencing more positive emotions we see it as a gift and it leads to gratitude and it affects the next moment as well as the people around us. Positive Psychology can attune us to the positive rather than the negative and ho hum of life.
Something you can do right now for yourself is create a positivity portfolio. Choose one of the emotions above and find heartfelt images, momentos, songs, poems that generate that emotion in you. Often times positive emotions are subtle and fleeting and we fail to pay attention to them. We need to savor them. Rick Hanson in his book Hardwiring for Happiness says we need to pause to allow positive events to sink in for 10-20 seconds. This allows them to become part of you and this habit can rewire your brain to create a lasting positive psychology inside of you. It can create a shift in your mindset and you can start right now. The positive portfolio will be a wonderful collection of things that when you sit down to look at it you will relive the emotion once again to savor it once again. It can be used any time and especially useful if you are ever feeling negative or down. Have fun, go out now and find a beautiful box to put all of your momentos in. Let me know how this goes for you! I know this positive portfolio will help to create upward spirals of positive emotions for you.