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The Power of Positive Emotions

By Susan Hayes | November , 2009
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It turns out that we can still be happy even when we’re worrying, according to a new study by the University of North Carolina—if we also savor positive emotions in everyday life. The study showed that experiencing moments of awe, amusement, joy, interest, and other positive feelings builds up our emotional resources—even when those emotions occur on the same day as negative ones. A larger reserve of emotional resources enables us to rebound better from stress and ward off depression, the researchers say.To build up your daily reserve, Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., the study’s lead researcher, offers these suggestions:

Find healthy, low- or no-cost activities you enjoy and can do daily, such as running, reading, or knitting.

Seek out nature. Studies show that being around water, trees, and sky boosts positive emotions.

Truly connect with others. Rather than gossip together, try to engage with friends in a positive way.

Make a gratitude list. Jot down good things that happen during the day—to you or your family.

About the Author

Susan Hayes is a freelance writer who lives in Brooklyn, NY. She is the co-author of 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child.


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