Wellness Pearls

positive emotions
09 September 2013

Become the CEO of Your Feelings

Change your state of mind by firing every thought you ever had and have it re-interview for its position. —Gretchen Pisano

Dr. Eileen O'Grady with Dr. Loretta Ford

Dr. Eileen O’Grady with Dr. Loretta Ford. Dr. O’Grady is the recipient of the 2013 Loretta Ford Lifetime Achievement Award

One of the five central components of human wellbeing is the ability to feel positive emotions, really feel them. Feeling positive emotions is not the same as thinking them. It means letting the positive emotion land and pausing to truly feel it.

Feeling positive emotions is strongly linked to the good life. Researchers have found that the Losada ratio (3:1 positive feelings are felt to every negative feeling) is necessary for a flourishing life. If it drops below that, we languish. This 3:1 positive to negative ratio takes concentration and intention. Each one of us is entitled to authentic positive emotions.

We humans have an evolutionary bias towards negative feelings. We sometimes look for evidence to support our negativity or when a good thing happens or a compliment comes our way, we diminish or minimize it. However, we are the only species on the planet with the power to isolate seek out, and cultivate positive emotions. For example, a client of mine is working on improving his ratio and now tries to make 5 people laugh each day. This summer, I was given an award by a person/organization that I greatly respect. As it was presented to me, I made a plan to pause and let the feelings land and wash over me. Weeks later, I can still pull up that positive emotion. The negative feelings that pop up ‘Velcro’ to this authentic positive emotion and get diluted. So, the next time a positive fact is presented to you, allow 30 seconds to find the feeling and soak in it. Take charge of your inner emotional life by paying attention to your ratio and truly feeling positive feelings.

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