No matter how much positivity you have in your life these days, if you turn on the news, you're bound to feel stress and negative emotions rise. That's why it's more important than ever to cultivate positive emotion daily with simple choices that trigger happiness.
Negative emotion is more powerful than positive. In fact, research shows negative emotions are about three times more powerful, so it takes about three positives to undo a single negative.
This means that right now it's more important than ever to cultivate positive emotion. Here's why: Research shows that positive emotion expands our ability to deal with adversity and stress. It enables better decision-making and perseverance. Positive emotion gives us more of the energy and resources that we need to keep moving forward.
Nehemiah 8:10 tells us, "The joy of the Lord is your strength." And in Proverbs 17:22, we are promised, "A cheerful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones." Clearly, God wants us to find joy and cheer in the midst of our challenges. He created our bodies in such a way that these emotions strengthen us. Even Jesus affirmed this truth when He said in John 16:33, "In this world you will have trouble. But cheer up! I have overcome the world."
So as counterintuitive as it might seem, when we are faced with a lot of negative, cultivating the positive becomes even more important.
Practically speaking, cultivating positive emotion means activating our happiness triggers. I've identified 13 of these triggers in my research, but there are a few specific examples I think will help the most in this season.
1. Movement — Get moving! It could be anything from a brisk walk to intense exercise but getting your blood flowing is important. Just 20 minutes of cardio will boost your mood for up to 24 hours!
2. Gratitude — Take some time to reflect on what you're grateful for and why you're grateful.
3. Play — Do something purely for the joy of it. Not because you need to perform or be great at it, but just because you like it. Whether it's singing or playing tennis, dancing, or board games, painting or a hobby, make fun a priority. Whether it's with your kids, pets, family, or friends, find things you like to do just for the joy of it.
4. Connection — Have meaningful conversations with people that you enjoy. If you're not able to be with loved ones face-to-face, be intentional about scheduling a FaceTime call, a phone date, or even send a letter!
5. Service — It should be no surprise that serving brings joy. When we do something for others, it does something for us. A heart of service is a heart filled with perspective, purpose, and a positive outlook. The greatest among us serves, and in serving there is joy.
So, identify what brings you joy and do it. Put it on the calendar. Set reminders. Take action to intentionally cultivate joy because it will increase your resilience and help you put life into perspective in the midst of your challenges.
What brings you joy?
How will you incorporate that activity into your schedule this week?
Positive emotion expands our ability to deal with adversity and stress
Listen to Valorie Burton on the daily broadcast.
Part 1: Traditional psychology can help people who are struggling with depression or anxiety, among other problems. On today’s edition of Family Talk, Valorie Burton, Christian author of Happy Women Live Better, explains that positive psychology is the study of what happens when things go right. People who are content have a greater ability to deal with adversity. It’s important to remember that God wants you to experience joy. His Word declares, “Laughter is good medicine,” and “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
Part 2: On today’s edition of Family Talk, Valorie Burton, Christian author of Happy Women Live Better, recommends three things to feel content, whatever the circumstances. First, ask yourself what was the best part about each day. Second, it’s important to remember to play; have fun with your children, play with your pets, or dance with your spouse. Whatever you do, experience joy. Third, smile! God designed our bodies so when we smile, it triggers the release of serotonin and endorphins to our brains. Amazingly, our Creator wired us to feel okay, even in the midst of hardship.
Learn More about the Guest
Valorie Burton is a Christian speaker, life strategist and CEO of the Coaching and Positive Psychology (CaPP) Institute. She is the author of 13 books that have been translated into multiple languages, including Let Go of the Guilt, It’s About Time, and Successful Women Think Differently. She has appeared regularly on the Today Show, CNN, HLN, Dr. Oz, and has been profiled in Essence Magazine. Valorie has spoken to hundreds of organizations around the globe and was named one of the top 60 motivational speakers in America, and one of the top 100 thought leaders in the field of personal development. She and her husband, Jeff, live on a ranch south of Atlanta with their children.