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The Science of Positive Emotion

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The Science of Positive Emotion

Monday Morning Wake Up Call:
Your Motivation, Inspiration, & Direction for the Week Ahead

The Science of Positive Emotion
Last week we encouraged you to focus on the positive and choose that direction. This week let’s back it up with some scientific research which shows that positivity helps humans flourish in all areas of life. Barbara Fredericks, a leading social psychologist from the University of North Carolina, has been researching human emotions for over 25 years. Her research shows that a positive mindset produces emotions such as joy, amusement, happiness, serenity, gratitude, and inspiration. However negative emotions hit us like a sledgehammer! Negative emotions are much more intense than positive emotions. Barbara said, “…positive emotions are like nutrients. In the same way that we need to eat a variety of fruits to be healthy, we need a variety of positive emotions in our daily life to help us become more resourceful version of ourselves. Science has proven that positive emotions help us connect with others and build our relationships. It also builds our resilience and it helps our physical health because we become more energetic.”

Fredrickson and her colleagues study positive emotions by measuring heart rate and respiration changes. Recently, some of their subjects were taught how to self-generate positive emotions on a daily basis. Over 6-7 weeks, they practiced the ancient technique of loving-kindness meditation. Instead of focusing attention on the breath, attention is focused on a set of classic phrases such as, “may you feel safe”, “may you feel healthy”, “may you live with ease”. The participants directed those warm wishes to themselves, people in their inner circle and then expanded to those people that they had no particular feelings about. It was noted that this seemed to make them immune to bias, based on rhythms of the heart and brain activity. They are now looking at changes in genes and the immune system! I hope you’re seeing life on the “sunny side” this week – and all the things you’re looking for you find with ease. I’m here if you need anything. Have a great one!

Something to Think About
The research is still in its early stage, but scientists believe that this can allow people to become more optimistic and interact with others more easily regardless of their past circumstances. Frederickson said, “It’s like the things that tend to divide us, like race and cultural differences, temporarily slip out of view, and people are much more likely to see the collective and ‘we’ rather than ‘me versus you’.” What a world that would be!

Weekly Activity:
Spend five minutes each day getting quiet and saying those positive phrases over and over. Research shows that it will take six weeks of this practice to start seeing the positive results. Just in time to hit the ground running in the new year!

Words of Wisdom
The problem is never how to get new, innovative thoughts into your mind, but how to get the old ones out. Dee Hock

We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.
Winston Churchill

The Perfect Day … going to bed with a dream, waking up with a purpose.” Unknown

Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do to your fears. Richard Wilkins

By taking a single step you’ve already outperformed millions of people who’ve made excuses. Nike


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