In this week’s Success Newsletter, I would like to reveal the design of positive and negative emotions, and how to enhance positivity.
First a quick update:
The Breakup Test
Are you heartbroken, angry, lost, lonely, confused, depressed, hung up, or pining over your ex? Do you know how your ex is truly affecting you and do you want to benefit from personalized advice, action steps and revelations? Take my free breakup test and get your own personalized report.
The 4 Secrets To A Great Relationship
Passion, Intimacy and Commitment are critical to a long-lasting relationship. And there is one more. Yes, four qualities stood out from a survey of 5,000 respondents. Watch my video.
Now, let’s talk about the design of positive and negative emotions, and how to enhance positivity.
Negative emotions get your attention more than positive emotions because they scream at you in an attempt to keep you attuned to danger. This is known as negativity bias – even when emotional intensity levels are equal between positive and negative emotions, the negative emotion will still have a greater effect.
And yet, we consciously yearn for more of positive emotions.
Both positive and negative emotions are critical to survival; positive emotions lead to flourishing.
When you experience negative emotions (anger, fear, anxiety) your brain works immediately to help you to survive by engaging the fight-or-flight response. In turn, your body carefully narrows the focus to conquer the threat: your mind narrows and your creative capacity shrinks; your peripheral line of vision shrinks, and your ability to solve problems or become more resourceful also weakens; the focus is fully on fighting or fleeing.
However, positive emotions have the opposite effect: they promote new and creative actions and ideas; they expand your peripheral line of vision; they enhance your ability to solve problems and retrieve memory. Above all, they also aid in building social bonds – critical to survival and wellbeing. Further, when you are challenged in life, you have the capacity to draw upon and recall those positive states to enhance your wellbeing, and to flourish. This is referred to as the “Broaden and Build Theory” of positive emotions.
Although, negative emotions seem stronger than positive emotions (‘bad is stronger than good’), there is an offset to this: positive emotions are actually more frequent than negative emotions. This is known as ‘positivity offset’ – we attribute positive emotions to situations that are neutral i.e. you typically see your surroundings as positive, whenever a clear threat is not present.
According to researcher and social psychologist Dr. Barbara L. Fredrickson, there are ten emotions that contribute to positivity, nine of which contribute to the emotion/experience of love. Dr, Fredrickson says these positive emotions listed below occur in this order the most frequently in your day-to-day life.
As you read through the list, ask yourself, “When was the last time I felt this feeling? Where was I? What was I doing? What else gives me this feeling?” Above all, enjoy and savor the positive emotion – embrace and appreciate it.
Remember, too, the emotion you experience is dependent on the way you perceive, appraise or judge things and events in your life!
Joy – elation, happiness or exhilaration in response to perceiving that good things are happening or are going better than expected. Joy moves you to be playful and unknowingly learn and develop skills.
Gratitude – thankfulness in response to an altruistic gift. Gratitude can motivate you to give and to be kind; gratitude helps build social bonds and develop skills for loving.
Serenity – calm and peace in response to appraising something as safe, and you want more of it and you savor the experience and modify the way you view yourself in the world. Serenity helps you to become clearer about your values
Interest – a feeling of curiosity, fascination or mystery which moves you to explore; the result is that you gain more knowledge and your energy levels also rise.
Hope – optimism and anticipation about a positive future in the face of challenges, setbacks or disappointments. Hope moves you to be inventive, creative and more resilient – it drives you further towards your goal.
Pride – pleasure and satisfaction in response to the perception that you’ve achieved something that’s good and valued by society. Pride can also inspire you to want to dream bigger and to take more action to achieve more in life.
Amusement – pleasure, enjoyment and laughter in response to a situation you perceive to be incongruent or a mishap. When you share amusement you help to build friendships and bonds.
Inspiration – uplifted, excited and motivated in response to witnessing human excellence or talent. Inspiration moves you to seek excellence which in turn can lead to gaining or developing new skills.
Awe – respect, fear, wonder or overwhelm in response to being surrounded by greatness. Awe can also create a sense of appreciation and feeling small or humble, and seeing yourself as part of something larger.
Love – the most frequent positive emotion that people experience. When you share the positive emotions listed above with someone else, you are both experiencing love; love is experienced through connection with other people. Love moves you, to play, explore, dream and live life more fully. Love moves you to build trust, bonds and community, and it greatly enhances your physical, mental, and emotional well-being.
According to Dr. Fredrickson, the feeling of love occurs when you share a positive emotion with someone else, there is synchrony between you and the other person and, you have a desire for mutual care and to enhance each other’s wellbeing.
And the more often you share these moments and feelings of love, the more you create bonds, loyalty and enduring relationships.
“Just as water lilies retract when sunlight fades, so do our minds when positivity fades” (Fredrickson 2009, p. 55).
If you need help to overcome negative emotions and experience more positive emotions, book a one-on-one session with me.
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I wish you the best and remind you “Believe in yourself -You deserve the best!”
Patrick Wanis Ph.D.
Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert & SRTT Therapist
Anointed “The Woman Expert” by WGN Chicago, Patrick Wanis PhD is a renowned Celebrity Life Coach, Human Behavior & Relationship Expert who developed SRTT therapy (Subconscious Rapid Transformation Technique) and is teaching it to other practitioners. Wanis’ clientele ranges from celebrities and CEOs to housewives and teenagers. CNN, BBC, FOX News, MSNBC & major news outlets worldwide consult Wanis for his expert insights and analysis on sexuality, human behavior and women’s issues. Wanis is the first person ever to do hypnotherapy on national TV – on the Montel Williams show.