by Dr. Wendy O'Connor, Positive Psychologist + Life Strategist for Women

Happiness Deconstructed Part 1: Cultivating Positive Emotions

When happiness is the topic of conversation people assume we are talking about how often we feel 'happy'. As you'll learn in this six-part series, emotions are only one part of the formula for true, sustainable happiness. Feeling 'happy' isn't the only emotion we're talking about when it comes to building happiness, so let's dive into the specifics here.

How often do you experience positive emotions? Would you say 80% of the time? 20%? Give it a number and write that number down. Now, think about which emotions fall into that category, which of these emotions are you experiencing regularly? Joy, excitement, hope, satisfaction, curiosity, creativity, awe, serenity, pride? These are ALL positive emotions ladies, they all count. Which ones do you most often feel?

Now, I want you to write down the last three positive emotions you remember feeling. What where they, where were they, and why were they? Write down the details, the specifics of each of these instances. Why? For two reasons. We want to notice and appreciate the positivity that already exists in our lives, and we want to recognize the types of situations and activities that ignite positive emotions so that we can do those activities (and variations of them) more often.

Cultivating positive emotions means choosing to focus on the positive versus the negative. It is about understanding that there is always something negative we can choose to focus on, but that we deliberately focus on the positive because it serves us. It serves our mood, our thoughts (perception of our lives), and it serves our goals. It is impossible for us to achieve our goals without a positive mindset. Bottom line.

I am your positivity expert, and I would like to encourage you with a gentle (but firm) nudge. This week I challenge you to do the following:

1) Make the intentional choice to choose the positive perspective over the negative,

2) Savor the happy, joyful, optimistic moments in your day and practice mindfulness around holding onto these experiences,

3) Choose to look at your future with hope and optimism. Close your eyes and imagine your best life, your best self. What emotions do you feel when you do this visualization practice?

Now get out there and create daily experiences that cultivate those very same emotions.

PS: If you haven't joined my Facebook Group now is the time. We offer each other tons of support and advice on living our best lives.