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Can positive emotions broaden us?

December 18, 2013

Here’s a great idea….
In her book Positivity, Barbara Fredrickson says,
“Unlike negative emotions, which narrow people’s ideas about possible actions, positive emotions do the opposite: They broaden people’s ideas about possible actions, opening our awareness to a wider range of thoughts and actions than is typical” (p. 21).

In other words…
When we dwell on the positive in our worlds, we actually become happier! By taking the positive view, we choose not to see all the problems in the world around us. We choose not to take offense as easily at other people’s behavior. Instead, we see the good in others and the world around us. Our eyes are opened to new and better ways of solving problems. We increase our motivation to do more with our lives. Positivity pays off!

Here’s how you can use this idea to have a better life….
One of the best ways to be more positive is to look for the good in your life and your relationships. You might also take a walk outside, find a service project to work on, or remember something pleasant. These activities will increase your positive emotions. The more positive emotions you experience, the more creative, productive, and happy you will be. What can you do to be more positive right this minute?

To Find Out More…
about personal well-being, check out Getting Our Hearts Right or The Personal Journey programs at, follow us at or contact your local county Extension agent. You may also enjoy reading Positivity

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