Positive emotions are those feelings that make life worth living. There are ways to increase the number of positive emotions that we experience, and it is important to teach girls how to create more of these feelings in their life. Doing fun things as a family together may create these emotions in girls, although there are ways to harness them independently and the research is clear, positive emotions have boundless positive benefits. Some of these include:
· Stronger immune system
· Restful sleeping
· Quality friendships and connections
· Feeling more fortunate
· More success in life
So how do you teach your daughter to increase her levels of positive emotions? As we are all unique, what will create them in one person, may differ for the next. However, there are some basic principles to consider and implement. One of these is teaching gratitude and you may have seen the latest research on the importance of this human value. Gratitude may come naturally to some, although usually, it needs to be taught to young people. Teaching gratitude is a daily lesson – acknowledging things like the roof over our head, food, clean water, family, friends, transport and the list goes on.
There are many gratitude activities we can offer girls too. Research says, by writing 3 things you are grateful for daily, over a 1-week period, one will see a positive change. In a study conducted by Martin Seligman, a select group of participants did this exercise. Their happiness levels were assessed following the exercise and each participant was 2% happier. However, it didn’t stop there, as their levels of happiness were continually assessed, it kept on increasing – 5% after one month and 9% after six months. When teaching girls this exercise, it is important to convey, to really feel the feeling of gratitude (not just writing things down robotically, feel and think about what it all means).
There are other ways to evoke positive emotions too – and to do this, it is helpful to observe what brings the best out in our children, which makes them joyful and happy. It could be dancing, creating, telling jokes, community work, charitable endeavours, being kind to others, water skiing or spending time with friends. Once some of these activities have been identified, you can create a ‘positivity box’ together. The idea is to add ideas of things your daughter likes to do and keep adding to it over time. She can always go to the box and grab an idea if feeling sad or lonely, at any time. It may serve as a quick boost for feeling better.
Of course, negative emotions are important too and they are useful as part of the whole spectrum of life. Encouraging all emotions to be expressed and felt is healthy for children (and adults). We equally need to teach girls to recognise when they are feeling sad (or joyful), angry or lost and to let them know these feelings are completely normal. Life is not without challenges and teaching positive emotions will enable children to build resilience, in the hope they can bounce back more rapidly following adversity.
‘The key is to keep company only with people who uplift you, whose presence calls forth your best’, Epictetus
Love Olivia Trussell, Girl Power Coach xx