What are positive emotions? There is a whole range — from amusement, to awe, to interest, to gratitude, to inspiration — what they all have in common is that they are reactions to our current circumstances. They aren’t a permanent state; they’re feelings that come and go. That’s true of all emotions, but positive emotions tend to be more fleeting and what’s particularly important is to cultivate them, to learn to make them last longer by “savoring” them.
Barbara Fredrickson says that these positive emotions share two core truths: they open up our minds and our hearts and change the way we perceive the environment. They help us see more possibilities and help us makes us make better decisions in complex situations. They increase our creativity, our resilience, they improve our cognitive performance
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Barbara Fredrickson is a social psychologist who spent the last twenty years studying positive emotions and her findings are the subject of her book, Positivity (Crown).
All this is not saying that positive emotions help us see the world through rose-colored glasses. What matters is that positive emotions are not just fleeting states but they help us at a very fundamental level to see larger systems and larger forms of interconnections. That can make a huge difference when we’re trying to address some of the entangled problems that we face. They help make us healthier and happier is we learn to cultivate them.
How are you cultivating your positive emotions? Share your insights by commenting below.