SUCCESS Materials – English

Positivity – Theoretical Background – Positive Emotions

Positive Emotions:

Emotions can be characterized as short and intense episodes in response to a particular event or person that is important to the individual (Fridja, 1988; Linnenbrink & Pintrich, 2004). Evidence garnered across a wealth of studies indicates that the experience or expression of positive emotions influences a multitude of mental and physical health outcomes such as well-being, positive mood, sociability, altruism, liking of self and others, more effective conflict resolution skills, greater resistance to challenges, positive coping and increased innovation and creativity (Fredrickson, 2003; Isen, Daubman, & Nowicki, 1987; Lyubomirsky, Sheldon & Schkade, 2005; Tugade & Fredrickson, 2004).

Of course, it is unrealistic to imagine a life in which one is not confronted with challenging situations and/or unpleasant emotions, as adversity is one of life’s inescapable facts. For example, ina  professional context, a variety of work stressors ranging from impending deadlines to interpersonal differences can arise on a regular basis. What matters is the ratio of positive to difficult emotions over time – it is essential that one experiences a sufficient level of positive emotion to counterbalance the effect of these aforementioned challenging ones (Fredrickson & Waugh, 2006).