The quality of our thoughts and attitudes are a powerful tool in shaping how our bodies function. In fact, a vibrant and continuing program of research from the field of Positive Psychology has provided an abundance of research into the ways we can build states of wellbeing through everyday ordinary habits and behaviors.
It’s important to understand that an emotion is positive if felt and expressed in the right context, at the right time.
Every emotion has its place and being human means that we have a rich emotional world at our fingertips that helps us to know the depth and breadth of an event or experience in our lives. Without a richer source of language to draw on, we reference our feelings as being either positive or negative. This is not always helpful as it polarizes our emotions into good or bad.
In positive psychology, the reference to positive emotions is not about asking you to have positive thoughts all the time or to be positive. It is about understanding the life-giving function of positive emotions and why they are a key component to human flourishing.
During times of struggle and suffering, our emotional world can result in the activation of feelings, thoughts, and actions that take us on a downward spiral; it makes it hard to see the forest through the trees. It’s during these times that we may experience a deep sense of helplessness, hopelessness, and even worthlessness that can feel unshakeable. The life that you wish to have and the life that you are actually living can feel as distant as the earth to the moon.
In contrast, during times of happiness and contentment, we may notice that the sun seems brighter, food seems tastier, and our overall sense of ourselves in the world is easier and lighter. The feelings experienced during these times are generally referred to as positive emotions, but title aside, their function is to provide an upward lift.
In fact, Barbara Fredrickson has undertaken years of research into the survival function of positive emotions. She has consistently demonstrated that positive emotions change the scope of our brains by broadening and building our minds. Under the fuel of positivity such as joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love, our minds expand, possibilities increase, and our capacity to solve problems widens.
How can positive emotions help with fertility?
Infertility and fertility treatment can be and often is an all-encompassing experience. Its seriousness can also mean that we become serious in all other matters of life. You may have noticed that:
- Laughter and play have been put on hold.
- Plans such as holidays and events feel difficult to contemplate due to the uncertainty of treatment and the outcomes.
- Decision-making about a new job, the purchase of a house, or even what to have for breakfast feels overwhelming.
- You feel drained rather rather than energized when you’re around others.
- Isolation and loneliness are a common companion.
With so much going on, it can feel challenging to contemplate ways to create positive moments in your life. But, experiencing and feeling moments of positivity is key to building resilience and supporting your psychological health and wellbeing.
It may be the essential ingredient that helps you to sustain your effort and buffer the lows that can be an inevitable and challenging part of your fertility journey.
So how can you find ways to bring more positivity into your life?
- Take time out to have fun – Children don’t need to be taught to seek out positive experiences. They just make them happen. Grab a deck of cards, skip to work instead of walking, sing out loud to your favourite pop song, or just dance in your living room. Keep it simple and enjoy the emotions that flow.
- Embrace feelings of pride – Take a moment to stop and consider the events, people, experiences, or achievements that fill you with pride. These might be small or large moments or events, but each represents an opportunity to remind you about your progress and accomplishments. As your mind explores these stories, allow your body to fill with positive energy.
- Express gratitude – Consider how you can bring thanks, awareness, and attention to the value of your family, friends, colleagues, furry friends, and loved ones. Experiencing gratitude is the antidote to negative emotions. It’s impossible to feel any other emotion when we experience and feel gratitude for what we have.
As you can see, positive emotions are more than just thinking positive thoughts. It’s a state that activates and awakens our mind and body. Cultivating positive emotions takes work, but your whole self will benefit from their power.
If you’d like to explore more ways to cultivate positive emotions and how they can empower you during your ART journey, feel free to reach out to us. We’d love to help you find ways to feel lighter and brighter.
“Rest assured that no matter how good you are at negativity, you’re also capable of positivity.” Barbara Fredrickson