Positive emotions open us up. We are able to notice more; like a flower when the sun shines on it. Psychological studies have shown that when we are given doses of positive emotion, we are able to take a moment and notice our surroundings, in other words, see the big picture (Fredrickson & Branigan, 2005).
Eye tracking studies have also demonstrated that when people are given gifts of sweets, they look around and notice more, even in complex situations (Wadlinger and Isaacowitz, 2006). Without these gifts, we tend to just focus on the middle ground and miss information in the wider environment. Positive gifts expand our peripheral vision, widen our awareness and increase creativity.
When working on a creative idea, if an individual gets caught in a negative state, it’s beneficial to go off and get into a good positive mental state and then come back to the creative work (Frederickson).
Resilience also develops through the experience of positive emotions. Young people perform better at exams. Doctors are quicker at diagnosing their patient’s ailments. We plan more and think about what we are going to do next when we are in a positive state. We are able to see people’s individuality and trust people more.
Did you know?
1% of our brain cells are replaced each day. It takes three months to learn new skills or change a habit. This is great to know because we can change behaviours, thoughts and habits. We can develop new ones and become who we want to become. This isn’t an easy thing to do. It takes hard work, effort and reinforcement. As does, losing weight and stopping smoking, for example.
How do we become more positive?
If you spend time each day and focus on fostering self-compassion, this develops resources, e.g., mindfulness and being more in your life, building trust, resilience, increase in physical health and increased vagal tone (healthier heart rate), and a lot more besides.
What’s stopping you?
Overthinking and negative thinking. We have an ability to track for danger and threats in our environment. This evolutionary survival technique was useful in the day when we had to run from a saber toothed cat (often mistakenly called a tiger); but no longer do we face such challenges.
The Business Case
Being positive can help you become more successful because you will be able to bounce back quicker in challenging times; think creatively; focus your attentions on winning contracts; have more energy and health to work effectively; develop better relationships with your customers, colleagues and yourself. The benefits are endless.
Put Positive Psychology in your business strategy today.