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What Are The Benefits of Positive Emotions?


Enthusiasm, compassion, contentment, gratitude, hope, interest, joy, love and pride; Yes please.  Anger, contempt, disgust, embarrassment, fear, guilt, sadness and shame; No thanks. We’ve probably all experienced the full range of the emotions inside us, but how can we say yes to more positive emotion which is often more fleeting than to the no of negative emotion which tends to hang around longer? 

Positive Psychology Coaching can help with the cultivation of positive emotion, which not only makes us feel better, but can have an ‘un-doing effect’, which lessens feelings of distress and negative emotions. The cultivation of positive emotion comes from the ‘broaden and build’ theory as developed by positive psychology’s leading researcher into positive emotions, Barbara Fredrickson.

Fredrickson found that whilst negative emotions lead to the fight or flight response and being trapped in survival mode, positive emotion gives a state of enhanced wellness and can lead to further levels of wellbeing and human flourishing. Positive Psychology Coaching can help discover additional resources in the key areas of intellectual, physical, social and psychological development.  

The broaden and build model of positive emotions creates ‘upward spirals’ of thought and action and can lead to longer lasting traits as we become more resilient, creative, healthier and live longer. With a stockpile of extra resources, we can seek out and work towards new goals in a more aware and confident manner as we achieve greater success in our lives.

Positive psychology doesn’t ignore negative emotions, but research suggests that to flourish we need to experience roughly three times as much positive emotion to negative emotion. Research has also indicated that it is the frequency of the positive emotion that affects our well-being rather than the intensity.

Positive Psychology Coaching can help individuals and teams to monitor and develop positive emotion to keep the 3:1 positivity ratio in balance. Within team settings, coaches can help identify positive and negative responses and help shape a more positive working environment. Indeed, research has indicated that high performing teams can have a positivity ratio of 6:1.

Positive emotions don’t just feel good, they do us good too.


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Huw Richards Coaching, 14 The Tything, Worcester WR1 1HD


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