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Archive for December 16th, 2007

Positive emotions not only help people today, but lay the groundwork for happiness tomorrow.

Researchers continue to build evidence supporting that common-sense idea. One of the latest — the broaden-and-build theory proposed by Barbara Frederickson at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Ms. Frederickson and her colleagues say that unlike negative emotions, which narrow people’s thoughts and actions, positive emotions broaden them. Thus, a person begins to think and act in new and novel ways, which in turn leads to an increase in personal resources. The researchers believe that as individuals bring these new ideas and actions into their daily life, they build an even greater array of physical, intellectual, social and psychological resources. This, in turn, leads to more positive emotions — a continuous upward spiral that contributes to a person’s overall well-being.

How can this knowledge help people? It suggests that to feel happier in the long run — begin feeling positive literally one day at a time. Each day of positive emotion becomes like a deposit in the bank that over time generates enormous psychological wealth.

Source: Positive Emotions Trigger Upward Spirals Toward Positive Well-Being by Barbara L. Frederickson and Thomas Joiner

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