10 Positive Emotions
Has someone put you down? Hurt you to your core? Can’t seem able to open your “happy again” door?
This happened to my client the other day. She was reeling from a “frenemy” ambush. Her brain would not let go of her obsession, “NOT FAIR!”. It ripped at her incessantly. She was stuck.
Wouldn’t you love to know, absolutely know, how to transform your life from hurt to happy again? Now you can.
Please note this is not “happiology”. It is a purposeful scientifically-based positivity plan.
I need to note, your negative emotions are normal. They are OK, and sometimes even help you pause and re-evaluate your situation. But most of you don’t want more negative emotions!
Here’s what helped my client elevate her esteem and re-focus her away from her obsession toward her own self-worth path.
Based on scientific evidence by renowned researcher and author, Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, you can learn how to embrace your hidden strength of Positive Emotions. How to overcome negativity and thrive.
You may want to grab a copy of her books, “Positivity” (now you know why my company name is Coaching Positivity!) and “Love 2.0”. They are packed with ways you can learn to ladle on “micro-moments of love”. They add up to big life rewards of meaning and fulfillment. If you are like me, you will be shocked to discover what LOVE really is. And how very important self-compassion is, too. Especially when life gives you a smack up side the head.
You’ve heard me talk about my love for positive psychology researcher, Barbara Fredrickson’s 10 Positive Emotions. Why? Because they lead you to well-being, happiness and resilience. They enhance your life. As a refresher, here they are again:
Joy, Gratitude, Serenity, Interest, Hope, Pride, Amusement, Inspiration, Awe , and Love, which has elements of all other emotions within it.
Here are ways you can create flourishing.
How to let go of that lingering bitter taste in your mouth when someone rains on your positivity parade:
1. Keep this list handy to remind your to be AWARE of them. Use one, like HOPE when challenges surface.
Practice noticing this one positive emotion for a week. Write down why that emotion added to your positive experiencing.
2. Be creative. Focus on JOY for example.
Take colorful post-it notes and write “JOY!” on them. Place them around your house on photos or objects or writings that bring you joy. Bet you will find yourself smiling when you pause to look at them. These micro-moments add up to create a more fulfilling life.
3. Create a personalized “Portfolio of Positivity”.
Get a pretty box or fun container and collect keepsakes, books, poems or whatever reflecting one emotion. Collect photos on your telephones. Let your imagination run wild. Have positivity will travel!
4. Another fun activity is to be mindful of your day and your social interactions.
Create loving connections with friends, family, co-workers or even new acquaintances everyday. Look them in the eye and smile. Notice their response. Be aware of your positive emotions. At the end of your day, reflect on the 3 longest interactions, asking yourself how connected or in tune you felt with them.
Write down the 3 exchanges with others. See what positive emotions bubbled up. Write down why your personal exchange was important. See how many positive emotions raised their loving/kindness head and nodded to you with positivity. Note: This doesn’t have to be with a loved one. It can be a nod of joy when you see a Mom being kind to her child. Or when you notice how well someone performed and you congratulated them. Even do this with strangers, like thanking the man who helps pack your groceries.
5. Super-charge your life with “positive resonance”.
Fredrickson defines “positive resonance” as a trio:
“Love is the momentary up-welling of these three tightly interwoven events: first, a sharing of one or more positive emotions between you and another; second, a synchrony between your and another person’s biochemistry and behaviors; and third, a reflected motive to invest in each other’s well-being that brings mutual care.”
So love is fleeting, but no the less powerful. You add up magic moments of connections with others. How grand! Love is not the “one person lasting forever” deal. You can feel love with anyone. Amazing! Better yet, it adds up all day long.
Remember “positive resonance”, that with each exchange, you are reminding yourself of your capacity to love.
Every micro-moment counts.
The more you use them, the more you “Broaden and Build” positivity. Your aim is to have 3, 4, or 5 times as many positives as negatives. You actually re-train your brain to notice and savor positivity.
But what about those negative emotions we were talking about with my client? It is NORMAL for negativity to pop up, of course. Acknowledge it. If you get angry for example, give a nod to your anger. Allow it space. Notice it. Then put on your “ability to love” super power cape. You know, the one that has all the 10 Positive Emotions printed on it. Bright red to remind you of your power to utilize your positivity. This will help diffuse your momentary bummer moments.
But what if you are still stuck and need a truck to drag you out of the muck? Do what my client did. Try “loving-kindness” meditation (LKM). Fredrickson has marvelous recordings on her website at www.positiveresonance.com. LKM is an activity honed over the millennia based on Buddhist traditions designed to condition your heart to be more open and loving. If you are like me, hearing Fredrickson’s voice alone is affirming.
You might also want to sweeten the pot and remember the mindfulness BOLD acronym.
From Acceptance and Commitment Therapy/Techniques (Kashdan and Ciarrochi, “Mindfulness, Acceptance and Positive Psychology”):
Breathe and let go of tension. Be aware of your body. Be in the NOW. This moment.
Observe yourself having these negative thoughts and feelings. Be open to them and give them space. Notice yourself and ask yourself which strengths you might use to get where you want to go.
Listen to yourself. Be open-minded, flexible and curious about what you are telling yourself and focus on what you want to happen.
Do what serves your VALUES. What fits with the best in you and move towards that in your life action plan. Use loving kindness!
Notice when you focus on YOU, the good in you, and what you WANT, your strengths and values bloom! What you want to avoid gets shrinky-dinked down to tiny, as your thinking shifts into an accepting, more upbeat mode. Acceptance so rocks.
OK, let’s review.
Your time to upload micro-moments of love/self-love is now. Forgot that person who tried to paint black over your rainbow. You have a huge positive psychology eraser. Let your colorful optimism and resilience blossom again. No one can hurt you unless you let them. Your bobble doll always settles on living your 10 PE’s! Good for you!
Also, always bless yourself with self-compassion and loving-kindness. Accept negativity as part of life. Remember, it always sits beside positivity. Fear/Control and LOVE are two sides of the same human coin. Icky stuff gifts you opportunities to grow. Instead of sitting in the muck and smelling the rancor, pinch your nose and ask yourself, “What is my learning here? How can I use my values to show up the way I want?” Even when someone takes you to the ground.
Do a meta view on YOU! See yourself 5,000 feet below living your BEST LIFE despite the momentary chaos.
Good luck and have fun as you notice and engage your 10 positive emotions.
Is that you I see smiling as you tally up your positive emotions? Tally ho, off to LOVE, WELL-BEING and FLOURISHING you go!
And if you want to see “Broaden and Build” in action, grab a copy of my book…