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The Power of Positive Emotions

What is Pleasure?

  1. Physical (eat, drink, be merry, have sex)
  2. Passion (purpose, ideas, work, friendships, religion, spirituality, music)
  3. Service to others

Negative thoughts can lead to negative emotions (as negative emotion can lead to negative thought) can lead to depression, depressed bodily functions and compromised mind and body health.

Positive thoughts lead to positive emotions lead to happiness, optimism, healthy mind and body.("Broaden and Build" ... friendships, thoughts, receptivity, coalitions, creativity, lowered heart rate)

The art of "Positive Psychology" (Psychologist Martin Seligman) is the focus on "signature strengths" - what you already have in your repertoire (creativity, humor, kindness, bravery, leadership, integrity, curiosity, love of learning, perceptivity, humility) to "create" your mental health (vs. mental illness.") "Learned Optimism" talks about choosing and utilizing your skills.

CHOOSE Positive emotions about the future (esp. regarding diabetes): faith, inspiration, determined, attentive, trust, hope, confidence and optimism.

Note how words like the following make you feel:
distressed, upset, guilty, hostile, irritable, ashamed, nervous….

"Insufficient appreciation and savoring of the good events in your past and overemphasis of the bad ones are the two culprits that undermine serenity, contentment and satisfactions" (Seligman, authentic Happiness)

Mindfulness (conscious joys of present)
Gratitude Journaling
Forgiveness to “rewrite history”

Positive psychology research:

  • Nuns who expressed positive emotions in autobiographical sketches lived longer and healthier.
  • Physicians with positive emotions more accurate diagnoses
  • Widows who told happy stories about spouse more likely to be reinvolved in life again.
  • Optimists live longer than pessimists (medical patients)

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