Blogging is fun because you get to learn new things in the process of your research. For example, I don’t believe I had ever looked up the definition of emotion before now. I was very interested to find that emotions generally have three components:
- a subjective experience (different people respond differently to the exact same stimulus, making it a subjective experience)
- a physiological response to the experience (how our body responds, like our heart rate speeding up or getting a knot in our stomach)
- a behavioral response (what we demonstrate outwardly, like smiling or crying)
Take a couple minutes and make a list of the first 10 emotions that come to mind. You likely named things like love, sadness, happiness, anger, surprise, fear, confusion, gratitude, joy, and anxiety. Now look at your list and notice how many you would categorize as positive, negative, or neutral. Most emotions serve us in some way, even the ones we label as negative. Fear and anxiety are warning signs, while anger means we’ve got a challenge to work through.
Negative emotions zero in on problems so that we can focus on solving them, but it is easy for them to spiral out of control. As we give in to the cascade of negative emotions, we can find ourselves overwhelmed and utterly stressed out. Manageable problems may suddenly seem too challenging to handle. And because the Law of Attraction is real – what you think about, you bring about – the more we dwell on them, the worse we feel.
That’s why it is so important to manage and/or mitigate our negative emotions. According to the Taking Charge blog, published by the University of Minnesota:
Negative attitudes and feelings of helplessness and hopelessness can create chronic stress, which upsets the body’s hormone balance, depletes the brain chemicals required for happiness, and damages the immune system. Chronic stress can actually decrease our lifespan. (Science has now identified that stress shortens our telomeres, the “end caps” of our DNA strands, which causes us to age more quickly.)
Placing our emphasis on positive emotions can help balance out the negative ones. It also works the opposite of focusing on negative emotions, expanding our awareness, attention – and even our memory.
According to the same Taking Charge post cited above, “scientist Barbara Frederickson has shown that positive emotions: (1) broaden our perspective of the world (thus inspiring more creativity, wonder, and options), and (2) build over time, creating lasting emotional resilience and flourishing.”
If you tend to find yourself focused more on negative emotions, you can start turning that around today. One way is to pay attention to all of your emotions – then focus in on the positive ones. Which ones are they? You might want to jot them down or make notes in your phone about when you feel them and the circumstances surrounding these feelings. Then, choose just one of the positive emotions and dedicate yourself to increasing it. Start with one day. Expand to a second day. Maybe go a whole week. See how you feel at the end of it. Chances are you will find yourself having a(n even slightly) better outlook than you did before you started the exercise.
How could having more positive emotions improve your life?
If you want to jump into this pursuit of positivity in a more dedicated way, you’ll want to take part in the 30-Day Positivity Challenge. This complimentary 30-day series of exercises gives participants a variety of assignments conducive to feeling better, overall. According to inspirational speaker Abraham Hicks, “Few realize that they can control the way they feel and positively affect the things that come into their life experience by deliberately directing their thoughts.” Abraham Hicks says we accomplish this by simply “reach[ing] for a better feeling thought.”
The choice is yours: Will you opt for positivity?