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Start Thriving by Filling Your Life With More Positive Emotions

Being able to regulate our emotions is more important that it might seem on the surface. Sure, we want to be able and manage our anger, stress, and anxiety, but recent studies show that the key to a happy, thriving life is a 3:1 ratio of positive to negative emotions.

Our negative emotions tend to stand out and linger in our mind, and negative emotions have a greater impact on our overall mood than do positive emotions.

In other words we need more positive emotions to counteract negative emotions.

Psychologist Dr. Barbara Fredrickson’s book Positivity offers insight about this concept. Here website states, “…experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio with negative ones leads people to a tipping point beyond which they naturally become more resilient to adversity and effortlessly achieve what they once could only imagine.”

Every emotional experience offers a chance to live a more thriving life. Be open-minded and consider what you can do to start having more positivity in your life.

Turn down the negative and turn up the positive

Learn to identify and recognize negative emotions in your life.

When do you become angry, stressed, and anxious? Starting to notice and be aware of your emotional state is the first step to regulating how you feel. From here you can begin to incorporate tools and techniques to manage emotions.

The second part of reaching a point of thriving is not just to manage negative emotions but to begin substituting positive emotions in their place.

Consider what can help you feel more grateful, joyful, and inspired?

Tips to manage and change emotional states

Reframing is a powerful tool to begin changing our view and perspective. Consider what you’re telling yourself about a situation, event, or person. By reframing how you understand a situation you can change how it affects you. Look for value within a difficult situation.

Pray or meditate to help deal with difficult times. Ask for help and guidance in solving your problems and stay relaxed and composed while you work through any issues. Meditation and prayer can help improve mindfulness, which is an important skills to help focus on the positive and impact the way we feel.

Focus on gratitude and what you’re thankful for. Focus on 3 things you feel good about today and that can help you turn up your positive emotions. Look for things you can appreciate in life. This is related to reframing. Be conscious of the perspective you’re holding onto, and look at what you have, instead of what you don’t have.

Exercise, stretch, or go for a walk to deal with stress or anxiety. Get a change of scenery and give yourself time to relax and regroup. Exercise also leads to physiological changes that can help relieve stress and improve mood.

Get creative and express your emotions through a healthy outlet like writing, music, painting, and art. What helps you come alive? What activities can you get lost in and become totally consumed with. Use your emotional energy in a productive manner that helps you become engaged in life and leads to personal growth.

Show kindness to others in order to begin feeling more positive. Be polite and considerate of others. Helping others experience more happiness can have a reciprocal effect and make you feel good about yourself.

Be accountable and don’t let emotions conquer you

At times we might feel as if our emotions have control over what we do and the decisions we make. We may blame things on others, saying “he made me angry,” or “they hurt my feelings.”

We have to really work hard to maintain the personal power that we have a responsibility for how we feel.

We can’t always control our emotions, so don’t try and force yourself to be happy. Simply start considering your emotional state more often. If you notice you don’t feel good, think of what you can do to change this state of mind.

We do have a choice in how we respond to situations in life, so be open to changing your usual habits and patterns that lead to discontent, and find an alternative approach to start feeling more positive.

Photo credit: ToriMBC

Start Thriving by Filling Your Life With More Positive Emotions

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

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APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2011). Start Thriving by Filling Your Life With More Positive Emotions. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 11, 2020, from


Last updated: 14 Feb 2011
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