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How to generate positive emotions to improve your wellbeing

Here are some simple things we can do to boost our own positive emotions, influence those of others and the many ways in which they can benefit us.

Positive emotions are one of the pillars of the PERMAH wellbeing framework that I utlise with my clients, along with Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment and Health, and can lead to many positive outcomes:

  • being more creative

  • better problem solving

  • being more open to learning

  • better cardiovascular health

  • better coordination

  • maintaining relationships

  • creating new relationships

  • develop higher levels of resilience

  • have a better sense of identity

  • living longer!

As we experience these outcomes, as in an upward spiral, our positive emotions continue to increase! And we can then essentially call on this ‘bank of stored positivity to support us to overcome challenging situations faster.

Have you noticed the positive impact when you’ve experienced positive emotions?

What are examples of positive emotions?

Here are 10 that have been found to be experienced often in our daily lives:











When was the last time you felt one of these emotions?What were you doing?What else gives you this feeling?

How can you generate positive emotions?

Studies have shown that there are actions you can take that can reliably increase your positive mood for up to 15 minutes:

  • watching an exciting film

  • reading an exciting story

  • reading positive statements about yourself

  • recalling a positive event that you’ve experienced

  • listening to music

  • spending time with a cheerful friend

Do you experience a boost to your mood when you do the above?! What else can you do to generate positive emotions?

How can you boost the positive emotions of others?

How good does it feel to make others happy, contented and joyful?!

Research shows that by:

  • surprising someone with an unexpected gift, like a coffee or bar of chocolate;

  • giving positive feedback, and;

  • simply by being cheerful and attentive with them…

… you can increase the positive mood of others.

So, what will you do today to help others feel great?!


(Reference: Hefferon & Boniwell, 2011)

Useful resources


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