No matter how wonderful your personal life is right now, if you turn on the news, you’re bound to feel your stress level rise. After-effects of the pandemic. Racial unrest. Economic uncertainty. Political turmoil. The negatives have piled up. And that means you need to be super intentional about looking for the positives. Otherwise, you may find yourself overwhelmed by it all.

Negative emotion is more powerful than positive. In fact, research shows negative emotions are about three times more powerful…so it takes about three positives to undo a single negative.

This means that right now it’s more important than ever to cultivate positive emotion. Here’s why: Research shows that positive emotion expands our ability to deal with adversity and stress. It enables better decision-making and perseverance. Positive emotion gives us more of the energy and resources that we need to keep moving forward.

Practically speaking, cultivating positive emotion means activating our happiness triggers. I’ve identified 13 of these triggers in my research, but there are a few specific examples I think will help the most in this season.

  1. Movement – Get moving! It could be anything from a brisk walk to intense exercise, but getting your blood flowing is important. Just 20 minutes of cardio will boost your mood for up to 24 hours!
  2. Gratitude – Take some time to reflect on what you’re grateful for and why you’re grateful.
  3. Play – Whether it’s with your kids, pets, family, or friends, find things you like to do just for the joy of it.
  4. Connection – Have meaningful conversations with people that you enjoy. If you’re not able to be with loved ones face-to-face, be intentional about scheduling a FaceTime call, a phone date, or even send a letter!

So my encouragement to you this week is to focus on at least one of these, get specific about what you’ll do, and do it – or schedule it! Make it happen.

Coach Yourself

What brings you joy?

How will you incorporate that activity into your schedule this week?