Happiness is… Positivity
I feel love, hope, serene, inspired, grateful, excited, peaceful, fulfilled.
Aah the joy of positive emotions bubbling up as bliss or awe, calm or contentment. It arrives as a peak of pleasure, a deep feeling of satisfaction, that loving connection or an all-too-momentary high. Positive emotions are the recognisable sign of happiness, supplying the feel-good factor to your well-being. What’s not so well-known is that there are all kinds of hidden benefits that come with positivity.
For positive emotions don’t just feel good they also do you good. They open your mind up to broader ways of thinking and help you to notice more of what’s around you, enabling you to think in creative and flexible ways. They help you to innovate, to see the bigger picture and if that sounds like part of your definition of intelligence, then, yes, positivity can make you brainier! Positive emotions help you flourish, reaching a high level of well-being where you’re feeling good and functioning well. There is a formula involved – a positivity ratio of 3 positive to every 1 negative emotion. What can happen when you bypass the tipping point of 3 to 1 positive to negative emotions is that you enter into an upwards spiral of development, which takes you towards greater well-being and can even trigger a transformation into a better, happier version of you. Think of times when you were feeling really good and life was going well – chances are that you were operating at or above this positivity ratio.
The downside with positive emotions is that they’re fleeting, here one minute and gone the next. Compare the feeling of ecstasy, for example, with sadness. You get a moment of sheer ecstasy but sadness can hang around for ages. Negative emotions last longer than positive emotions. Although you can’t hold onto them there is a silver lining – positive emotions accumulate and build up all kinds of useful psychological and physical resources that you can draw on at a later date. It’s like charging up your batteries to give you a source of energy. They spur you into action. Interest, for example, sparks a desire to seek out new information, joy leads to an urge to play and curiosity to explore the world.
Positive emotions aren’t just there for you in the good times, they also support you in the bad. Positivity acts as a reset button, speeding the recovery from negativity. So if you have a stressful day and then are amused by something, that positivity will help to calm the body, bringing your blood pressure back to normal. Over the long term positive emotions act like a thick jumper, protecting you from life’s harshness. They build up your resilience so that you cope better in periods of adversity and enable you to bounce back from tough times.
Positive emotions – your flexible friends!