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It’s certainly no surprise that positive emotions have the power to change lives. Brain studies have shown that having more positive emotions than negative emotions help us handle difficult situations more easily, and help us bounce back stronger from those situations, no matter the actual outcome.
Feeling positive emotions helps us see options in solving problems, whereas negative emotions will block all of that creativity.
As humans, we experience something called the negativity bias. This is our natural tendency to give more attention to the negative emotions we experience than the positive emotions. And from a scientific standpoint, it makes sense. Negative emotions generally point out a problem that needs to be fixed or figured out.
Negative emotions often help us survive difficult and often life-threatening situations. That’s one of the positive sides of negative emotions.
But even though these negative emotions are natural, the negativity bias can make it very difficult to let go of the negative thoughts that go along with the emotions. A bad moment turns into a bad day. A small frustration turns into full-blown anger. So, it is useful to have the ability to call up positive emotions to help balance, and hopefully outweigh the negative emotions.
The most important thing you can do to enable your positive emotions is to practice them. That’s right – practice being positive! It’s okay to have the negative emotion or thought. Acknowledge it. Then, turn it around into something positive. Truly every situation has a silver lining if you look hard enough.
By practicing this simple switch-around when you have a negative thought, you are teaching your brain to switch to positive thinking and positive emotion, thereby balancing the negativity bias. You’ll notice that this is difficult to do at first – the very first step is identifying your negative emotions. Once you can identify them, you can acknowledge them. And once you can identify and acknowledge them, you can then turn them around into a positive.
Like most skills, this will get easier as time goes on, and you practice consistently. Soon, you will naturally begin to experience more positive thinking and emotions throughout your days, even though you haven’t had to identify and turn around a negative emotion to make that happen! This is because your brain has learned a new, positive way of doing things. The result is great feedback in the form of happiness, joy, love, and peace!