Studies show that we have more positive experiences everyday than negative. However, we sometimes remember the negative ones more often or they have a tendency to affect us more. I have tried to learn how to enhance my positive experiences so that they can have the greater affect on my life.
Positive emotions can be very powerful. If we focus on trying to cultivate our positive emotions on a regular basis, our brain chemistry can actually change in the long run. According to Barbara Fredrickson at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, positive emotions include Joy, love, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration and awe. According to studies by Fredrickson, positive emotions broaden our awareness and actions. This means that when we are having positive emotions, we are more adept at doing positive things like goal setting, decision-making, problem-solving, etc. She says that positive emotions are our nutrients as humans much like sunlight is a life-giving nutrient for plants. She also points out additional benefits for having successive positive emotions. Positive emotions heighten our ability of resilience in tough situations and even make our resilience resource grow over time.
There are many ways to cultivate positive emotions in our daily lives. I would like to focus on one of those ways today. When you have a positive experience, take a few seconds to really let this experience sink in. Notice how you are feeling. Recognize the enhanced well-being brought on by this experience. Try to be mindful or in-the-moment during this experience. This will hep you internalize the positive emotions of this experience.
If you are experiencing this with someone else, together you can "re-live" the experience by talking about the details of the experience. Discuss the emotions, how it happened and how you felt during the time that it happened. This cements the experience in your mind. Fredrickson says further that as we learn to cultivate and enhance our positive emotions, we can strengthen our well-being and happiness in the long run. For some, this may seem far fetched. For others, this comes more naturally. Whichever you are, this is a simple way to improve our well-being and will create an upward spiral of positive actions in the long run.