Positive emotions have an enormous impact on how we interpret, experience and live life as a whole; this is called the broaden-and-build effect of positive emotions. Although
positive emotions – like all emotions – come and go, they can broaden our minds and build physical and psychological resources. And the more positive emotions we have, the more this effect increases.
So, what are the benefits of positive emotions?
- your outlook on life becomes more positive
- you become more creative
- you find better solutions to problems
- you become more resilient
- you become more open/connected to others
- you become more helpful and compassionate
Health benefits include:
- stress hormones decrease and growth- and bond-related hormones increase
- enhanced immune system
- diminished inflammatory responses to stress
- lower blood pressure
- less pain
- fewer colds
- better sleep
- lower disease risks
Consciously and deliberately increasing your positive emotions in your day-to-day life will allow you to reap the above-mentioned benefits. Of course, this takes a little time, so expect to see the changes after about 12 weeks. Although this may seem long in our current instant gratification society, remember that experiencing positive emotions in itself feels great, so it’s definitely worth sticking to your practice.
To get started, simply pick one of the following 10 positive emotions and experiment with what makes you feel them (people, places, activities,…):
Joy, gratitude, serenity, pride, hope, amusement, interest, inspiration, awe, love.
Alternatively, you can bring them up during your meditation practice.