Increasing Your Positive Emotions
Mini Positive Emotions Brainstorming Activity (10 minutes)
Right now in your life, which of the emotion types on the list below do you feel least often? Which of the emotions types on the list is the most underrepresented in/missing from your day to day life?
Pick the group of emotions you’re most interested in increasing.
Types of Positive Emotion
1. Amused, fun-loving, or silly
2. Awe, wonder, or amazement
3. Grateful, appreciative, or thankful
4. Hopeful, optimistic, or encouraged
5. Inspired, uplifted, or elevated.
6. Interested, alert, or curious.
7. Joyful, glad, or happy.
8. Love, closeness, or trust.
9. Proud, confident, or self-assured.
10. Serene, content, or peaceful.
(List from Positive Emotions Expert, Dr Barbara Fredrickson)
Once you’ve picked one number from the list, write the three emotion words on the closest biggish piece of paper of you can find.
Spend 10 minutes generating at LEAST 15 ideas for how you could increase your opportunities to experience those emotions.
Your ideas are likely to fall into 3 categories:
1. Activities that are your existing sources of the emotions you’re focusing on that you could do more often.
For example, if you know that having games nights with friends is an important source of feeling fun-loving/silly/amused but you only have games nights once a year, you could write down the idea of having games nights more often.
2. New things you could do that you think would lead you to feeling the emotions you want to increase.
3. Your ideas won’t always be about doing different activities – they might be ideas for how you could change your thinking.
For example, things you could do to better notice opportunities for experiencing the emotion that already naturally occur in your life (like looking out for opportunities to think self pride thoughts).
Or, things you could do to savor or enhance the emotion when you experience it fleetingly or in mild amounts.
Let your mind roam free. Let your answers reflect your unique personality.
You don’t need to commit to doing any of the things. Aim for creative, quirky, and adventurous. Let your answers reflect your personality.
The idea is to capture in one place ideas that might’ve been rolling around in your mind on and off, and then to go beyond these into the territory of new thoughts.
If you find yourself evaluating your ideas, bring your mind back to trying to generate as many ideas as possible in the 10 minutes. You can evaluate your ideas later.
Slip the list into your purse or wallet for the next week or so, so that when you think of additional ideas (which you will) you can add them to your list.