Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Positive Emotions Increase Life Satisfaction By Building Resilience

Date:
July 12, 2009
Source:
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Summary:
People who seed their life with frequent moments of positive emotions increase their resilience against challenges, according to a new study.

People who seed their life with frequent moments of positive emotions increase their resilience against challenges.
Credit: iStockphoto/Catherine Yeulet

People who seed their life with frequent moments of positive emotions increase their resilience against challenges, according to a new study by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill psychologist and colleagues.

“This study shows that if happiness is something you want out of life, then focusing daily on the small moments and cultivating positive emotions is the way to go,” said Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology in UNC’s College of Arts and Sciences and the principal investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory. “Those small moments let positive emotions blossom, and that helps us become more open. That openness then helps us build resources that can help us rebound better from adversity and stress, ward off depression and continue to grow.”

In the month long study, 86 participants were asked to submit daily “emotion reports,” rather than answering general questions like, “Over the last few months, how much joy did you feel?”

“Getting those daily reports helped us gather more accurate recollections of feelings and allowed us to capture emotional ups and downs,” said Fredrickson, a leading expert in the field of positive psychology.

Building up a daily diet of positive emotions does not require banishing negative emotions, she said. The study helps show that to be happy, people do not need to adopt a “Pollyanna-ish” approach and deny the upsetting aspects of life.

“The levels of positive emotions that produced good benefits weren’t extreme. Participants with average and stable levels of positive emotions still showed growth in resilience even when their days included negative emotions.”

Fredrickson suggested focusing on the “micro-moments” that can help unlock one positive emotion here or there.

“A lot of times we get so wrapped up in thinking about the future and the past that we are blind to the goodness we are steeped in already, whether it’s the beauty outside the window or the kind things that people are doing for you,” she said. “The better approach is to be open and flexible, to be appreciative of whatever good you do find in your daily circumstances, rather than focusing on bigger questions, such as ‘Will I be happy if I move to California?’ or ‘Will I be happy if I get married?’”

In addition to Fredrickson, the study authors are Michael A. Cohn, Ph.D., of the University of California San Francisco; Stephanie L. Brown, Ph.D., from the University of Michigan; Joseph A. Mikels, Ph.D., of Cornell University; and Anne M. Conway, Ph.D., of the University of Pittsburgh.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Cohn et al. Happiness unpacked: Positive emotions increase life satisfaction by building resilience.. Emotion, 2009; 9 (3): 361 DOI: 10.1037/a0015952

Cite This Page:

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Positive Emotions Increase Life Satisfaction By Building Resilience." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 12 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090708184544.htm>.
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. (2009, July 12). Positive Emotions Increase Life Satisfaction By Building Resilience. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 25, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090708184544.htm
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. "Positive Emotions Increase Life Satisfaction By Building Resilience." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090708184544.htm (accessed July 25, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Friday, July 25, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

New Painkiller Designed To Discourage Abuse: Will It Work?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) The FDA approved Targiniq ER on Wednesday, a painkiller designed to keep users from abusing it. Like any new medication, however, it has doubters. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Can Watching TV Make You Feel Like A Failure?

Newsy (July 24, 2014) A study by German researchers claims watching TV while you're stressed out can make you feel guilty and like a failure. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

China's Ageing Millions Look Forward to Bleak Future

AFP (July 24, 2014) China's elderly population is expanding so quickly that children struggle to look after them, pushing them to do something unexpected in Chinese society- move their parents into a nursing home. Duration: 02:07 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Idaho Boy Helps Brother With Disabilities Complete Triathlon

Newsy (July 23, 2014) An 8-year-old boy helped his younger brother, who has a rare genetic condition that's confined him to a wheelchair, finish a triathlon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

    Health News

      Environment News

        Technology News



          Save/Print:
          Share:

          Free Subscriptions


          Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

          Get Social & Mobile


          Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

          Have Feedback?


          Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
          Mobile: iPhone Android Web
          Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
          Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
          Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins