Why Get More Feel-Good In? The Power of Positivity
‘Positivity’ is a word that means different things to different people but in the science of well-being it represents the frequent experience of positive emotions. The top ten positive emotions are joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love. In fact love is the most frequently experienced positive emotion because it combines all the other feel-good emotions. Love is our supreme positive emotion, flooding us with feel-good hormones every time we experience a moment of connection and warmth.
But is there more to positivity than just good feelings? It turns out that the answer is yes. Positive emotions not only feel good, they do us good too. They are the superfoods of optimal well-being. To understand why, you need to know a little about their nature. Emotions are our internal guidance system – they let us know if something feels good or bad so we can navigate our way through life. They act a bit like traffic lights.
Negative emotions like anger, fear or disgust deliver a warning. The message is Stop! You need to pay attention – something is not right here.
Positive emotions act as a green traffic light. The message is yes, this feels good and we can continue along this path. But it doesn’t just stop there. Positive emotions are much more than pink, fluffy stuff. The reason why we need to get more positivity into our lives is because this type of emotion perform useful roles.
They broaden your mind so that you’re able to think outside the box, be creative and think flexibly. It was a lightbulb moment for me when I first learnt this. I used to think that the way to get creative was to put myself under maximum pressure and pull all-nighters. Now when I have something to write, I go for a walk in the park first or bounce up and down on my rebounder to get the creative juices flowing.
They build your inner resources that you can draw on to help you function better. Positive emotions are fleeting – a moment of joy or calm, but they accumulate to form psychological resources – like a sense of who you are and where you’re heading in life. They build intellectual resources that help you process new information and solve problems; social resources that support you in making new bonds and deepening existing ones. Even physical resources – positivity can help build a stronger body. Think of how children love to play outdoors. Climbing trees makes them feel good and this develops muscles, strengthens the cardiovascular system and improves balance. One of the reasons why play is good for us.
Positivity also helps you bounce back from adversity. If you’ve had a bad day and then have a laugh, the positive emotions will dissolve the effects of stress, bringing down your blood pressure and taking you from the ‘fight or flight’ – from the stress response, back into a state of rest and digestion. Positivity can even help you recover your well-being.
These are the benefits of positivity, but there are barriers that get in the way of positive emotions. Negative emotions are the bigger experience – you can be paralysed by fear or weighed down by sadness and the brain has a negativity bias – you notice what’s wrong before you tune into what’s right. What this means is that we need to work a little bit harder to overcome these obstacles to get more good in. The positive news is that what you focus on grows, and with practice positivity will flow more easily. Check out my Mood Boosting Plan for more ideas and inspiration into how to get more good in.
Ryvita has teamed up with Miriam Akhtar, Positivity Coach to be part of their Positivity Panel alongside Davina McCall. The panellists were handpicked to help inspire women across the nation to feel confident and happy, whatever their age, through advice, tips and tricks. Head to https://www.ryvita.co.uk/living-well to find out more.
Image courtesy of Pixabay.