Optimism gives us strength

Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson believes that positive emotions play a key role in our ability to withstand shocks.

Optimism gives us strength

"Can we not succumb to depression and to remain optimistic even when the world around us seems to be hostile and dangerous? I started working on this issue shortly before the terrorist attack on the twin towers in New York in 2001. That day I was riding the train home, and all around discussing the tragedy. My neighbor asked me if we could remain the same after what happened? And I remembered that on the way to the train station seen in the cars of people laughing. I said, and so people have remained the same. Yes, they are shocked, they suffer, they are very concerned about, but they still laugh, communicate with each other, they are still able to live.

There is a view that in times of crisis people do not experience positive emotions. This is not true. Simply, these emotions are more reserved. I was able to compare the behavior and self-feeling of the people before the disaster and after. We asked survey participants to determine how they feel depressed, which are experiencing emotions related and not related to the terrorist attacks. Many have noted that experiencing anxiety, fear about the future, not sleep at night. But at the same time, they talked about the support, compassion, joy, because that could escape death. 60% of respondents reported that after the horror of their relationships with loved ones improved, they began to care more about their partners and relatives. There were those who, after the disaster felt even happier than before. Usually these people in their daily lives were inclined to pay attention to the positive aspects and the simple joy, glad the weather is good, a pleasant conversation in the company of friends and new experiences. Thus, the habit of positive emotions to help them maintain composure and not lose courage in a crisis situation. In addition, those resistant to shocks, revealed another important quality. They are easier to "switched" with negative emotions into positive and recover quickly from stress. After all the stress, as well as anger or fear, it makes us spend a lot of energy. Since the body reacts to the possible danger. When we are under stress for a long time, we will quickly get tired and become more vulnerable. Lodging and releasing negative emotions, we not only cherish force, but also to protect themselves from the trauma.

Not the events themselves determine our reactions to them, but the way we all used to respond to stressful situations. Learning how to manage their feelings, to see (and generate) the sources of positive emotions, we can create a power reserve and successfully withstand even strong shocks. "

Barbara Fredrickson (Barbara Fredrickson), a social psychologist, an expert in positive psychology, the University of North Carolina (USA). Recording lectures can be found at the University of Pennsylvania www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu