Moments in people’s lives characterized by experiences of positive emotions—such as joy, interest, contentment, love, etc.—are moments in which they are not plagued by negative emotions, such as anxiety, sadness and anger which heighten our brains perception of pain. Consistent withthis, the overall balance of peoples’ positive to negative emotions has been shown to contribute positively to their overall well-being and musculoskele tal health
- Joy creates the urge to play, push the limits and be creative; urges evident not only in social and physical behaviour, but also in intellectual and artistic behaviour.
- Interest, a distinct positive emotion, creates the urge to explore, take in new information and experiences, and expand the self in the process.
- Contentment, a third distinct positive emotion, creates the urge to sit back and savour current, positive life circumstances, and integrate these circumstances into new views of self and of the world.
- Love—viewed as an combination of distinct positive emotions (e.g. joy, interest and contentment) experienced within contexts of safe, close relationships creates recurring cycles of urges to play with, explore and savour our loved ones.
Research in multiple chronic pain patients indicate that higher positive emotion lessens both the brains perception of pain and the negative emotions that result from pain. What are you doing today to increase your positive emotions?
The bottom-line is that people should cultivate positive emotions in themselves and in those around them, not just as an end-states in themselves, but also to achieving psychological growth and improved psychological and physical well-being over time.