5 Steps to More Positive Emotions

Emotional states are like weather patterns. Think of it this way: Negative emotions are like passing storms. Positive emotions are like sunlight that you can collect and store within your system in much the way solar panels store the sun’s energy. Use the following exercise to let the storms of negativity gently pass through you (with minimal impact), as you aim your “emotional solar panels” to absorb and collect the benefits of positive emotional states.

5 Steps to More Positive Emotions

1. First, notice any residual feelings of worry, doubt, fear, resentment, or anger in your body.

2. Second, relax those sensations and imagine breathing them completely out of your system.

3. Third, place your attention on your own heart as the center of your emotional awareness. Recall a memory and/or conjure up a positive image that elicits feelings of appreciation, gratitude, satisfaction, or love.

4. Fourth, smile as you imagine breathing those good feelings into your body. Let positive emotions expand into the region around your heart.

5. Finally, remember that these good feelings are physically changing your body. It brings your heart rate and brain waves into coherence. Also, it triggers the release of healthy neurochemicals in your bloodstream. Above all, it strengthens your immune system and it enhances your energy levels. Therefore, allow yourself to “soak in” these good feelings for at least 30 seconds, and up to 5 minutes or more at a time.

Here’s the best part:

You can do this process anytime, anywhere. As a matter of fact,  you don’t even have to close your eyes (although having your eyes closed may enhance your experience). Short bursts of positive emotion interspersed throughout your day will yield maximum benefits over time. Hence, with consistent practice, your body is now gaining a “muscle memory” of how it feels to be loving, fulfilled, and satisfied from the inside out

If you’ve been turning to substances like food, cigarettes or alcohol as a surrogate for love, it’s simply an indicator that you need to re-prioritize your values, to define what’s truly meaningful and important, and give yourself permission to express and experience more of the good feelings in life. Remember that just thinking about what you love changes your physiology.

The more you give your body permission to experience love, satisfaction and fulfillment from the inside out, the less you’ll seek unhealthy substances to feel better and the healthier you’ll be.

References and Suggested Reading:
The HeartMath Solution – Doc Childre and Howard Martin
The Biology of Belief – Bruce Lipton
Happy For No Reason – Marci Shimoff

Author
Lauren Archer Lauren Archer directs our Mindfulness Program. With over 25 years in private practice, Lauren is the author of Six Word Lessons on Changing Habits: How to Stop Self-Sabotage and Gain Self-Mastery. She has taught classes in the Community Health Education program at Evergreen Health, and helped thousands of people adopt healthier habits.

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