Seriously, how often do we talk about positive emotions and the little ways in which we can inculcate them in our lives? Barring few lectures and seminars here and there by our spiritual gurus, the discussion around Positive Psychology is almost negligible.
Professor Barbara L. Fredrickson opines that positive emotions work as “little engines” in our day to day lives, broadening and building our minds, making it capable to “undo” the lingering negativity. She enlists 10 such emotions in her doctoral research, here, for the interest of time and readability; I am enlisting 5 such emotions which are small yet giant machines that drive us all along!
Just close your eyes and try to re-live the memory of the moment when you had experienced absolute joy. A pleasant something that came your way when you least expected it, or an enjoyable occurrence that took place which was way different from the daily routine of your life, or the actualization of something that you desired for, but never thought would take place in real. You had felt thankful and blessed. Yes, we all have experienced ‘joy’ in our lives. Emotions are layered and palpable; hence they bring physical changes to our bodies also. Just by mere remembrance of a joyful moment, our facial expressions change, we feel lighter and life seems good!
Sometimes the feeling of joy and happiness is so overwhelming that we attribute it to someone else, implying, it is him/her who’s the actual source of our unexpected good fortune. This feeling of gratitude is widely mistaken as being moderate. Although it’s definitely a humble gesture, but it only arises when we are deeply satisfied and happy within. Gratitude is an emotion that makes us calm and tranquil, bringing me to my next positive engine.
This emotion emerges when people feel utter satisfaction out of their achievements or experiences. That something inside you which had calmed down when you got ‘that job’ or had won the heart of your girl? Yes, you felt serene! People often feel ‘serene’ when they are comfortable or ‘at-home’ with certain people at certain places. Serenity also brings us closer to ourselves; hence giving a more refined and complex sense of our priorities. It makes us focus more on what’s to be done next, bringing me closer to my next engine.
Pride more often than not, has been subjected to negative connotation. Pride infact, on the contrary, is a very strong positive emotion. Professor Fredrickson tells us, “People feel pride, for instance, when they accomplish an important Goal. Pride creates the urge to fantasize about even bigger accomplishments in similar arenas. The big dreams sparked by pride contribute to the durable resource of achievement motivation.”
And I have saved the best for the last. Is there any single emotion on this earth which is more powerful than “love”? Everything associated with love is magical and uplifting, and is basically an amalgamation of all the other emotions enlisted above. A richer description of love is analyzed in Positive Psychology while studying the “broaden and build” theory, for now it suffices to say that ‘love’ broadens our causal (cause-effect) mannerisms by creating momentary perceptions of self-expansion.
Having learned the above, in our stress laden lives, happiness and positivity evades us. True, the ubiquity of counseling sessions on anxiety, depression, etc. is because we face them more often. We will know the effects of these ‘tiny engines’ only when we realize them in our day to day lives. We need to ask ourselves, this question, are we happy, if no, why not? If yes, why so? As Sigmund Freud says, “Being entirely honest with oneself is a good exercise”.
This Post is published here with permission from its Writer~
Puja is a Senior Copywriter and Blogger