How Positive Emotions Help with Anger

In past blogs I have spoken of a new movement in psychology called “positivity” and have discussed how it has an “undo” effect with negative emotions such as anger.

Put another way, positive emotions erase the lingering traces of negative emotions.

So, if we did “lose it” and get angry, a great way to repair yourself is to find a way to generate positive emotions. According to researcher Barbara L. Fredrickson, Ph.D., over time, positive emotions prompt growth in personal and social resources that increases well-being.

That is, positivity opens us.

But, what are the forms of positivity? What emotions should we try to achieve in order to undue the effect of negative emotions?

According to Fredrickson and other researchers, we should strive for ten emotions which are:

  • Joy
  • Gratitude
  • Serenity
  • Interest
  • Hope
  • Pride
  • Amusement
  • Inspiration
  • Awe
  • Love

But, how do you generate some or all of these emotions when you are….well, pissed off?

Frederickson recommends that you start keeping what she calls a Positivity Portfolio – it is like building a shrine to each of these positivity emotions.

Start by trying to figure out when typically that you experience one of the emotions – like joy – or one of the others. Write down what triggers it. When was the last time you felt it? Where were you? What were you doing? What was happening?

In the next blog entry, we’ll continue this process to help you build your portfolio of emotions you should have, to counterbalance all that negative stuff that is in everybody’s everyday life. Stay tuned…