There are many paths one can follow to reach inner peace and happiness. However, it all starts from within. Trying to reach a sense of contentment through external sources is nothing but putting a patch to the inner work we must do in our journeys to heal. That’s why in this article I share the 10 positive emotions we must foster on a daily basis for our well-being.
These emotions were heavily analyzed and studied by Barbara Fredrickson, doctor of Psychology. After completing her research, Fredrickson wrote Broaden and Build Theory of Positive Emotions where she discusses the importance of positive emotions (as well as the negatives ones) in our daily lives. She was awarded the prestigious Highest Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology for her research studies.
So, what are the 10 positive emotions Fredrickson analyzed and we should foster every day?
The 10 positive emotions
The feeling of joy is instant. When we’re in a safe, familiar, and cozy place, it’s easy to find joy in life. It’s inevitable not to laugh and enjoy (see where the word comes from?) the moment we’re living. We’d like for it to last forever.
From a spiritual standpoint, gratitude is one of the most important emotions one can feel. Everything is energy in the Universe and, as such, everything vibrates at a certain frequency, including feelings/emotions/thoughts. Gratitude has one of the highest frequencies, so be sure to be grateful for what you have every day.
Every time we show genuine gratitude, our heart opens up and expands a little more. And here’s something interesting, everything magnifies. The more grateful we are, the more we receive. Interesting, right?
Practice gratitude on a daily basis. Here are some examples I personally use:
- Be grateful for the food you get to eat every day. Not everyone can enjoy a full meal.
- Say thank you for being able to buy things, pay for rent and your bills, etc.
- Show gratitude for having a safe place where you can lie your head to rest every night.
- Thank your family and friends for the love and support they give you.
- Appreciate your pets for showing you unconditional love.
The list goes on. But every night, I thank the Universe for these and many other things. Even on my lowest days, it helps to know we’re supported by something bigger than us.
Keep this practice every day. The more you thank life for what you have, the less you’ll think about what it is you’re lacking. Try it out and list 3 things you’re truly grateful for every day for a month.
Serenity is a state we reach every time we’re present to the moment we’re experiencing. It’s somewhat similar to joy but more sustained. You’re in a safe and familiar place, and you’re able to savor the moment without any worry.
I’m not referring to doing something for someone because you’re expecting something in return. That’s not the interest Fredrickson was talking about in her research. Rather, interest is the curiosity we develop for life in general. Interest to learn something, better ourselves, try different things.
Interest is needed for personal growth and development. When you’re interested in learning something new you’re challenging the status quo by asking questions. And this leads to an awakening. This waking up to a new reality will most likely bring new challenges your way, but how boring would life be if we didn’t challenge ourselves?
Even when we’re struggling and we’re at our lowest, having hope is an act of faith in knowing that everything is unfolding as it should. The 10 positive emotions I’ve mentioned up to this point come from experiencing happy moments. Hope arises from adversity and challenges.
Hope helps us believe that everything will follow its course. It helps us get the energy and strength from a place of lack to keep going. And hope also helps us accept the current situation, whichever that may be.
Just like with interest, I have to bring up pride with caution. Pride comes as a consequence of the effort we’ve put into something we’ve completed. It can also be associated with cultural and/or ethnic aspects.
It’s true that pride may have a negative connotation due to it being one of the seven capital sins. However, having pride in a balanced and healthy way may be the push we need to achieve our goals.
Amusement brings up the child we all carry within. It’s one of the 10 positive emotions where time seems to come to a stop.
The good thing about fun/amusement is that it’s usually shared in company. We’re having fun when we’re with other people and can share these experiences with them. It could be as part of an activity or because we’ve seen something that made us laugh. Amusement is something we should keep in our everyday lives.
Anything that brings us inspiration will help us grow, blossom, and become better human beings. Inspiration comes in many forms. Someone could inspire you to start practicing a new sport o activity, but a song could also be just as inspiring.
Regardless of the reason that led you to feel inspired and creative, don’t stop! Your life’s purpose may be on the other side of that inspiring moment.
Just like amusement, awe also brings up the child within. When we’re little, everything seems amazing and magical. It is only when we grow older that we seem to forget about the magic of life.
Albert Einstein used to say that there are two ways to living life:
One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle
Which one do you choose?
Feeling that there’s something bigger than us is what brings us closer to amazement. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a sunset, a snowflake, or a meteor shower. Everything is magical.
Well, truthfully, everything comes to love. It’s the highest vibration, the only the truth.
Everything on our planet has love as its foundation. Anything that separates us from love, will also separate us from the other positive emotions. It’s simple as that.
If you haven’t already, I’d recommend reading Marianne Williamson’s A Return To Love.
Oxytocin and progesterone raise up when we feel love and connection. ¡Our bodies/minds react to love! So, with that being said, how about we start spreading love? First towards ourselves and then to others.
Positive and negative emotions
Life can sometimes bring us down to our knees. It’s in these circumstances that negative emotions arise.
We shouldn’t give them a negative connotation. These emotions are part of the human condition.
But, what are the most common negative emotions?
Those that separate us from feeling safe and/or love. Boredom, stress, anguish, anxiety, guilt, deception, frustration, rage, anger, worry, resentment, sadness… All these negative emotions have fear as the underlying feeling.
If love is the highest frequency, fear or apathy is on the other side of the spectrum. Fear happens when we don’t trust. Fear is the underlying feeling of all the negative emotions mentioned above.
Why do we stop trusting? What can you do when these uncomfortable emotions arise?
How to foster positive emotions
To be honest, it’s a daily practice. It’s something I started working on every day after I entered my Dark Night Of The Soul in March of 2020. Most of the good feelings describe arising as a consequence of being present.
When we have full awareness (mindfulness) we learn to observe emotions without judgment and watch them pass us by, like a cloud.
But, what can you do to work with these difficult emotions?
Establish a routine that allows you to stay present. Start practicing meditation and/or yoga, or any other practice that helps you be in coherence with your mind, body, and soul.
Over time, you’ll become more aware of your thoughts and slowly take some distance from them. And then you can change the negative for positives.
Journal daily and simply free write anything that comes to mind. Dump everything there.
List three things you’re grateful for every day and write down why you feel this way.
Do you like being out in nature? Then, spend some time at the beach or the mountains every week. Being in touch with nature will help you to stay present and foster those 10 positive emotions listed above.
It takes practice. Daily practice, actually. But, over time, you’ll reap the benefits.
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