Have you ever walked into a room where everyone is laughing and caught yourself laughing too? Positive emotions help bring people together and can enhance your performance, resilience, and well-being.
Moods—good and bad—are a fact of life. It’s normal to feel disappointed or upset from time to time. Yet when you feel happy (or excited, proud, grateful, etc.), you become more open to new ideas, people, and events. Experiencing a healthy diet of positive emotions helps to improve creativity and buffers against stress, anger, and other negative emotions. Positive emotions are important to help you rejuvenate and stay energized.
Create a “positive emotion portfolio”
When the stresses of life overtake your time and attention, try taking an active approach to boosting your mood by creating a “positive emotion portfolio.”
- To begin, choose an emotion you’d like to feel more in your life, such as gratitude, joy, serenity, curiosity, pride, awe, hope, humor, inspiration, optimism, confidence, or love.
- Next, create a playlist of songs or a collection of pictures, videos, letters, and/or poems that help you feel the emotion you want to boost. Store them in a folder on your computer or phone where you have daily access, or make a scrapbook or idea board.
- For one week, practice an 8–15 minute daily ritual reviewing your “positive emotion portfolio.”
- At the end of the week, reflect on what worked and what didn’t. Adjust and add new items to your portfolio.
Use your positive emotion portfolio as often or as long as you want, reflecting on it daily, any time you need a pick-me-up, or when you just want to experience that positive feeling. You can create portfolios for other emotions you want to experience more too. This is also a great activity to do with your family. To learn more strategies to create, maintain, and enhance positive emotions, read the article Savoring: Your strategy to total fitness.
Catalino, L. I., Algoe, S. B., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2014). Prioritizing positivity: An effective approach to pursuing happiness? Emotion, 14(6). doi:10.1037/a0038029
Cohn, M. A., Fredrickson, B. L., Brown, S. L., Mikels, J. A., & Conway, A. M. (2009 ). Happiness unpacked: Positive emotions increase life satisfaction by building resilience. Emotion, 9(3), 361. doi:10.1037/a0015952
Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56(3), 218–226. doi:10.1037/0003-066x.56.3.218
Fredrickson, B. L. (2009). Positivity. New York: Three Rivers Press.
Fredrickson, B. L. (2013). Positive Emotions Broaden and Build. In Advances in Experimental Social Psychology (Vol. 47, pp. 1–53). University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, NC.