The power of positive emotions has been an area of interest for psychologists for a few decades. One important theory that sheds light on the crucial role that positive emotions play in overall well-being is the Broaden and Build Theory, developed by psychologist Dr. Barbara Fredrickson. In her work, Dr. Fredrickson outlines these ten core positive emotions.
In this post, you’ll learn what these ten core positive emotions are and the proven benefits they can contribute to your health and well-being.
The Benefits of Feeling Positive Emotions
It’s a safe assumption to say that most people enjoy feeling good. A clear mind and feelings of happiness and satisfaction are usually welcomed experiences. Positive emotions are more than passing experiences, however. They have measurable positive effects on cognition, behavior, experiences, and overall life outcomes.
It pays dividends to dwell on positive emotions.
Recurrently evoking positive emotional states helps you to notice opportunities, openings, paths, and progress and essentially helps you to continue to move toward growth and flourishing in your life.
Positive emotions contribute positively to mental energy, relieve and even undo the effects of stress, enhance creativity, promote resilience, increase job satisfaction, increase life satisfaction, and overall help you build a substantial reserve of psychological resources.
The Ten Core Positive Emotions from the Broaden and Build Theory
The ten core positive emotions from the Broaden and Build Theory are joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love.
Joy is the positive emotion you experience at the height of happiness and enjoyment. Whether you’re bursting out with deep laughter or experiencing a deep sense of contentment, joy is an emotion that can fuel your creativity, motivation, and sense of appreciation for life.
Gratitude is an accessible positive affect that encourages you to focus on the positives in your life. This emotional state broadens your perspective, allowing you to see opportunities and resources you might have otherwise missed. Practicing gratitude can lead to improved health outcomes, improved relationships, and overall life satisfaction.
Serenity, or a state of inner peace, is essential for mental well-being. It enables you to think more clearly, make better decisions, and strengthen your social bonds. This positive feeling can enhance your ability to build emotional and psychological resilience.
Interest is what fuels curiosity and drives human beings to explore new things. When you experience the positive emotion of interest, you become more open to new experiences and can pursue the development of new skills, hobbies, and relationships. Interest is an emotion that can help you build a rich and varied life.
Hope is the positive feeling that brings a sense of possibility into your perspective. Hope implies progress and belief in a positive or desirable outcome. Hope is an emotion that can help you cope, adapt, stay resilient, and see a bright future ahead of you.
Pride in your accomplishments helps you build self-esteem and self-worth. Acknowledging and embracing that you accomplished something helps to make you feel capable and competent. Feeling pride can reinforce your commitment to do more in your life with a steady level of self-belief.
Amusement and laughter are integral to well-being. Experiencing amusement can help you to feel at ease, increase your level of enjoyment of the moment, and foster positive connections. Amusement is an emotion that contributes to emotional well-being and supports healthy social bonds.
Inspiration is the emotion that ignites new dreams, passions, and aspirations into being. It’s an emotion that can broaden your creativity, problem-solving ability, enhance your self-expression, and help you create a meaningful life. Building on your inspiration, you can create lasting achievements and legacies.
Awe is the emotion you experience when you encounter something greater than yourself. Looking up at the stars at night, standing next to a mountain or one of nature’s other wonders, you can feel humble and connected to something bigger than yourself. Awe helps you to appreciate the natural wonders of life as well as human achievement. It’s an emotion that can help you build a sense of purpose in the spirit of appreciating all that is possible in life.
Love is likely the most written about of all positive emotions. Love is a positive affect that extends positive regard toward yourself or others. It’s an emotion that promotes nurturing, acceptance, and connection. It helps you build deep and lasting bonds with others, providing essential social support and emotional well-being.
How to Use the 10 Core Positive Emotions to Enhance Your Well-being
A key to benefiting from the power of positive emotions is to increase the occurrence of them in your life intentionally. Practiced positivity can become dispositional positivity, an internalized natural way of being in the world.
Engaging in activities that bring you joy, keeping a gratitude journal, practicing mindfulness, pursuing creative interests, engaging with inspirational content, recognizing and celebrating your personal achievements, going into environments that help you to feel awe, practicing self-love and building strong, loving relationships can transform your life.
You can try practicing with a few specific positive emotions over a period of sixty to ninety days to experience the benefits that they bring about. The more consistently you evoke and experience positive emotions, the more you benefit from their positive and cumulative effects on psychological, emotional, and physical health and well-being.
The Broaden and Build Theory is a useful resource for remembering the incredible power of positive emotions to help shape an enjoyable life experience. Embracing these ten core positive emotions can broaden your horizon and enable you to build a life filled with happiness, resilience, and lasting well-being.
By consciously cultivating these emotions daily, you can unlock their potential to enrich your personal growth, professional experiences, relationships, and overall life satisfaction.
Kidest OM is a manifestation and consciousness expansion author and teacher with indispensable books and online courses designed to help you attract and manifest what you want. Her books include "Anything You Want" and "Nothing in the Way: Clearing the Paths to Success & Fulfilment" which are available globally in eBook and print through online book retailers.