Sometimes people feel this kind of undue pressure to be happy. Let’s face it, everyone’s talking about happiness and how important it is, but sheesh, are we all supposed to be skipping through meadows filled with buttercups every day? Is that the kind of happiness we’re supposed to have? Well, forget it. That isn’t me very often at all. This post shows that happiness comes in many forms, and when you understand the full range of positive emotions, you may feel happier?
Moreover, you will realize that you have greater access to some emotions over others. Read to the end of the post and I’ve got a special surprise for you too. As a coach, public speaker, and bestselling author, I teach topics just like this one all around the world.
So stay tuned and I’ll give you practical tools that you can use to make both yourself and those around you both happier and more successful. Scientists who do research in the field of positive psychology often struggle with defining the term happiness. However, there is one definition that comes up repeatedly. “Happiness is the subjective experience of well-being.”
My goodness, this definition does not feel helpful to me at all. I mean, how often do I say, “Gee, I’m feeling a lot of well-being.” Yeah, like never. However, there is a researcher who defines happiness in a practical, very accessible way. She’s Barbara Fredrickson from the University of North Carolina. She says that happiness is the presence of one of 10 possible positive emotions.
These emotions are ones we all feel at times. As I read them, consider for yourself whether you feel some of these emotions more commonly than others. This can be a helpful clue that you may have some of these emotions more accessible, more readily available to you than others. Joy.
When you feel victorious, exuberant, and very satisfied. It’s like winning a race or completing something very meaningful. This feeling creates a big smile on your face and it might want to make you skip and dance. Consider a time when you felt great joy, gratitude. Someone has gone out of their way to do something good for you. A moment of awareness takes hold, you realize life has very real and sweet treasures.
Gratitude opens your heart and when genuine, gratitude is spontaneous. When were you last truly and openly grateful? Serenity. You are safe and content. Life is good. You feel peaceful and calm.
Nothing is demanding your attention and in a moment of serenity, you want to sit back and soak it in. When and where do you experience serenity? Feel it. Interest. Something new or different draws your attention. Your focus goes, you’re fascinated. You feel open and alive.
Your horizons are expanding as the pull of interest beckons you to explore. When did interest last draw you by the nose? Hope. This feeling arises when an element of fear is also present. Deep within, you know possibilities abound. Hope motivates you.
It often allows you to tap into your own capabilities. You can see a better future. Energy bubbles up in the swell of hope. Consider what gives you a feeling of hope. What circumstances make you hopeful? Pride. When specific and tempered with appropriate humility, pride is a terrific feeling.
It’s a sense of accomplishment or a pleasing reflection on one’s own character. Our actions are valued by others. We are making a difference. It kindles dreams of accomplishment in similar domains. What makes you proud? Feel this emotion. Amusement, something unexpected happens that simply makes you laugh.
Amusement is social, so most often, it happens with others. Laughter is contagious. The situation is safe and not too serious. There’s a funny face, a misspoken comment, almost anything that is in-congruent and unexpected can make you laugh. Consider the last time you had a good belly laugh. Oh, inspiration.
You discover true human excellence. You transcend the ordinary. You witness an act of immense compassion and kindness. Your attention is riveted, your heart is warmed, you are pulled to grow yourself, but without selfish intent. Think deeply what really inspires you? Aw, it often defies language.
Goodness is found on a grand scale. You’re overwhelmed by greatness, manmade or in nature. You are momentarily transfixed, even humbled. There’s often a recognition that we are part of something that is greater than ourselves. Awe often defies an explanatory discourse. What transfixes you with awe?
And lastly, love. Love is a different kind of positive emotion. It’s defined as any combination of some of the other nine happy emotions I just described. When we love something or someone, we may feel joy and hope. We also may feel inspired and amused by that person or thing. When many positive emotions are stirred within a relationship, we call that love.
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