Emotions are a powerful force that affect our physical, mental and spiritual states.
How often do you allow yourself time to pause, reflect on the emotions that you’re feeling and nurture them into something positive?
In this blog post, we’ll explore 7 happy emotions you should nurture to experience a more fulfilling life.
Broaden And Build Theory Of Positive Emotions
In positive psychology, the Broaden and Build Theory, founded by Barbara Fredrickson in 1998, suggests that purposely expanding the range of positive emotions we experience can bring a much more fulfilling life.
When we choose to feel happy emotions, these positive emotions broaden our perspective of the world around us and help us to build relationships, resources and resilience.
How Positive Emotions Benefit Us:
Experiencing positive emotions like happiness, love, and optimism benefits us in many ways:
Increased Sense Of Well-Being
Positive emotions lead to an overall increase in our sense of well-being and life satisfaction.
When we experience positive emotions, we naturally enjoy the moment more and feel better. We feel energized, more confident, and hopeful about the future. We also feel more accepting of and comfortable with who we are.
Improved Physical Health
Positive emotions also benefit our physical health. When we’re in a positive emotional state, we are more resilient to stress and physical illness. Our bodies produce endorphins and other hormones that help reduce inflammation, boost our immunity, and aid in the healing process.
Positive emotions help us cultivate better relationships with those around us. When we’re feeling positive, people tend to gravitate toward us; we become more approachable and open. We also find it easier to empathize and connect with others, making it easier to form strong relationships.
When we’re feeling upbeat and optimistic, it’s easier for us to make decisions. We weigh our options more accurately and critically analyze the pros and cons of each. We may even come up with creative solutions we wouldn’t have thought of when in a more negative state.
When we’re experiencing positive emotions, we not only work better but we’re also able to stay motivated for longer periods of time. Our productivity increases and our performance in different life areas, like work or school, improves.
When we experience negative emotions, it’s easier for us to be dragged down by them and get stuck in a rut.
On the other hand, positive emotions help us build resilience. We become better at fighting off negative emotions and to keep our minds clear of unhelpful thoughts. We find it easier to handle life’s curveballs and bounce back quicker.
7 Happy Emotions To Nurture
Now that you know about the benefits of positive emotions, let’s explore 7 happy emotions you should nurture. There are, of course, more positive emotions out there, but these are the most essential for a fulfilling life.
1. Joy (Look For Sources Of Pleasure)
Joy is the emotion of feeling pleasure and experiencing delight. It’s a great emotional state to be in, as it contributes to a sense of well-being and life satisfaction.
The best way to experience joy is to look for sources of pleasure in your daily life. It could be something as small as taking a walk in nature or listening to your favorite song.
Invite opportunities for joy into your life by doing more of the things you enjoy. Or look for more ways to introduce joy like trying out new hobbies or joining social groups you admire.
If you’re not quite sure what brings you joy, you might want to read up on how to find what makes you happy. Or, consider reflecting on times when you felt particularly joyful. What were the circumstances? What did you do to create that positive emotion? When you find your sources of joy, don’t forget to make time for them!
2. Love (Cultivate Strong Relationships)
Love is the emotion of deep affection, understanding and caring for another person. It can be for a family member, partner, or friend.
When we show love and receive it in return, our lives become more meaningful and fulfilling. We’re also able to handle difficult situations more effectively because we can draw strength from our loved ones.
You can nurture love by cultivating strong relationships with those you care about. Show your appreciation, listen attentively, and be understanding of their feelings. Be willing to do things for them that bring them joy. Always choose kindness and generosity in all of your interactions with them and you’ll likely experience love in return.
3. Gratitude (Appreciate The Little Things)
Gratitude is the emotion of being thankful for what we have. It’s a powerful emotion that helps us appreciate the little things in life and focus on the positive. It helps us recognize how lucky and blessed we are despite any hardships or struggles we may be facing.
Cultivating gratitude is easier than you may think. Start by appreciating your everyday life, from the food on your plate to the air in your lungs. Think of the people around you and all the relationships you’re fortunate to have. Reflect on the moments in time that made your heart happy.
Express your gratitude out loud to yourself or loved ones. Writing it down can be just as powerful, so try keeping a gratitude journal. You can even practice the act of giving thanks every Thankful Thursday by doing something nice for someone else.
4. Optimism (Look On The Bright Side)
Optimism is the emotion of looking on the bright side of life, even when days seem dark. It’s a powerful emotion that helps us stay hopeful, motivated and upbeat in difficult situations.
Optimism can also help us focus on progress rather than perfection. It’s a future-oriented emotion that keeps us pushing forward.
To nurture optimism, start by giving yourself some credit for all your efforts and progress to date. Each time you accomplish something, big or small, congratulate yourself for it. Don’t forget to reward yourself afterwards!
Remind yourself that no matter how bad things may seem, there’s always a silver lining. Make time for activities that give you a dose of optimism, like reading inspirational stories or talking to supportive friends. Consider reading and adopting the Optimist Creed as your personal motto for how to live your life.
5. Peace (Embrace Stillness)
Peace is the emotion of inner stillness and balance. It’s a sense of tranquility and contentment that comes with letting go of any worries and stress. It’s about living in the moment and being mindful.
When you’re at peace, you become more aware of yourself and the world around you. You better understand your moods, feelings, thoughts, and actions. You’re able to observe what’s happening and respond rather than react. You become better at managing the ups and downs of life because you’re not caught up in them.
You can nurture peace by taking time for yourself every day. Schedule breaks throughout the day to relax, meditate or simply take some deep breaths. Make it a habit to pause and observe your environment without judgment or expectation. Enjoy the stillness and notice how it affects your mind, body, and spirit.
6. Empathy (Understand The World)
Empathy is the emotion of understanding and caring for others. It’s about walking in someone else’s shoes and connecting with their struggles and hardships. It’s a precursor to compassion and kindness, which then leads to acts of service and generosity.
Empathy begins with an open mind and heart. Listen attentively to someone’s story and make sure you understand their situation before offering advice. Ask questions and try to get a better understanding of their perspective. Make an effort to be non-judgmental and accepting.
You can also nurture empathy by volunteering or donating to a cause you care about. Practice random acts of kindness each day, like holding the door open for someone or buying someone’s coffee. Every small act of kindness counts – it will not only make someone else’s day but yours too.
7. Amusement (Enjoy The Little Things)
Amusement is the emotion of finding joy and delight in life’s little moments. It’s about allowing yourself the freedom to laugh, play and just enjoy something that makes you smile. It’s an infectious emotion that reminds us how beautiful life can be despite any hardships or struggles we may be facing.
Allow yourself to find amusement in everyday situations, even if it’s something as simple as a puppy running around or a funny comment made by a friend. Seek out activities that make you smile and laugh like telling jokes, watching funny videos, or having a spontaneous dance party with friends.
When you don’t take life too seriously, you let yourself just be in the moment and enjoy it.
By taking the time to nurture these positive emotions, you’ll be able better to navigate life’s ups and downs, build meaningful connections with others, and find contentment in the present moment.
There are so many other positive emotions to explore and nurture as well, including courage, awe, trust, and enthusiasm. Make it a goal to bring more of these emotions into your life – they can help you create a brighter, more meaningful life.
Keep A Journal
While experiencing positive emotions is desirable, recognize that there will always be difficult times. Experiencing the bad is essential to appreciate the good. Be sure to take time to reflect on how you feel, and work through those difficult emotions in a healthy way.
Daily journaling is the best way to learn about and understand your emotional health. It can help you identify your positive and negative emotions and determine what the possible triggers for them are. It can also help you track your emotional development over time.
Keep the following points in mind when journaling:
Start Right Away
Why wait and put it off until tomorrow or next week? Start journaling today!
The sooner you start identifying what makes you happy, or unhappy, the sooner you can introduce more happy emotions into your life.
Write down your thoughts and feelings each day, if possible.
Distinguish Between Feelings And Emotions
Feelings and emotions are not the same.
It is possible to have fleeting negative feelings even when your overall emotional state is positive, and vice versa! You can have momentary positive feelings even if your current situation isn’t ideal and your baseline emotions aren’t happy.
The way we feel changes from day to day, and even throughout the day. Everyone feels unhappy from time to time. It is quite different from being unhappy all the time.
Work to discern the difference between feelings and emotions when writing in your journal so that you can better track your emotional health.
List What Makes You Feel Good Or Bad
Include details about the things, places, or people that make you feel a certain way – good or bad. Do this every day, and look for patterns.
The more you observe, the more you can learn about yourself. After a week or two, you may see some common patterns emerging and be able to pinpoint causes for these emotional trends.
Be Honest With Yourself
Be honest about how you feel in your journal entries. There’s no shame in admitting that you feel bad. Everyone does sometimes. No one but you will see your journal entries. It’s a safe space.
Be honest so that you can get an accurate picture of your emotional and mental health. The more honest you can be, the better.
Get Help If You Need It
Do you see that most of your journal entries detail negative feelings, or that you have vastly conflicting emotions from one day to the next?
This may be indicative of deeper issues, and the best way to deal with that is to get the help that you need. There are numerous options, including self-help courses, support groups, and individual therapy.
Seeking help from a healthcare professional such as a psychiatrist or psychologist is nothing to feel embarrassed or ashamed of. Rather, it’s a sign of strength and a commitment to taking care of yourself. It might be just what you need to bring more happy emotions into your life.
Create A Positive Emotions List
Humans suffer from a negativity bias where negative thoughts and feelings are more intensely remembered than positive ones. This means that positive emotions can be harder to identify.
To counteract this bias, keep a separate, ongoing list of positive emotions and activities that make you feel good. Start this list on the last page of your journal so that it’s easy for you to refer to it whenever you’re feeling down or need a pick-me-up.
You may be pleasantly surprised by all the positive items on your list!
Happiness is a habit. When you take the time to nurture positive emotions and incorporate them into your daily routine, you’ll find that it is possible to experience genuine happiness more often and for longer periods of time.
Start with small steps, such as writing in a journal and being mindful of what makes you feel good or bad. This will help you to develop a better understanding of yourself, and will ultimately lead you to live a happier life.
a little dose of happy is dedicated to helping you get the most happiness out of life. Check out our blog for more tips and advice on how to become a happier you!