Reflect on the Good Things in Life to Create Positive Emotions
Positive emotions broaden our awareness and allow us to take in and process more information.
As a result, we can think more flexibly and creatively, examine problems more thoroughly from multiple angles, and take other people’s perspectives more easily. This enables us to interact with our environments in fuller and more distinct ways.
We can benefit from intentionally cultivating positive emotions, both in ourselves and in those we love. Here are some ways you can increase the positive emotions you experience throughout your day.
Hunt The Good Stuff (HTGS)
When we use the skill of HTGS, we take time to think back on our day and reflect on the good things that happened. This reflection on good things that happened, not just the recognition of the good things themselves, is what makes HTGS a useful and effective way to deliberately foster positive emotions.
Throughout our day, we experience things we think are good. These things might be big or small, but they’re considered “good” because they lead to positive emotions. Although it’s beneficial to recognize and actively notice those good things when they occur, the skill of HTGS is not about increasing the number of things you label as good during your day. The skill of HTGS is about reflecting on those good things later in your day and reexperiencing the positive emotions you felt when the good thing happened originally.
In this way, you get to reap the benefits of positive emotions twice from each good thing that happened in your life. By reflecting on good things that have already occurred, you are essentially doubling the time spent experiencing positive emotions without changing or adding anything to your day.
Active Constructive Responding (ACR)
When we use the skill of ACR, we respond to good news others share with us in a way that allows that individual to reexperience the positive emotions they felt when the good thing first occurred. We do this by asking questions and encouraging the individual to elaborate on and provide more details about the good news. This helps the individual sharing the good news to reexperience the positive emotions felt when the good thing originally happened.
However, that’s not the only benefit of ACR. Because of a concept called “emotional contagion,” the positive emotions experienced by the person sharing the good news are also felt by the person responding to the good news.
Both people benefit and experience positive emotions:
- the sharer for the second time through sharing
- and the responder through their engagement with the sharer.
HTGS and ACR
The skills of HTGS and ACR can be used separately but they can also be used together.
For example, while picking your child up from school, you might ask your child what good things happened today. This sets the conditions for the child to Hunt the Good Stuff by thinking back on their day and reflecting on those good things that occurred. Then you can use the skill of ACR to help your child reflect more deeply on those good things, remember more about those moments that made them smile and, therefore, reexperience the positive emotions they felt during those moments that happened earlier in the day.