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Positive Emotions - More Than Fuzzy Feelings

Confident woman leader

For those in businesses you may be tired of hearing about 'wellness'. As improved ‘human capital’/‘psychological capital’ has been found to increase engagement and productivity at work there is good reason to be talking up wellbeing.

“Behavioural factors linked to positive Psychological WellBeing:

Less distraction from work tasks due to psychosomatic complaints etc …

Better memory (less bias to the negative)

Motivation and self-efficacy

Flexibility and originality

Better response to unfavorable feedback

More positive judgements about others

Higher levels of ‘Engagement’

More productive”

Ford et al, 2011, Lyubomirsky, King and Diener, 2005 cited by Cooper 2013.

In this article I will outline some of the evidence from positive psychology research about how and why positive emotions are not all fuzziness at work and offer some ways it can be applied across an organisation.

And as compelling as the science is, lets not overlook the simple fact that incorporating wellbeing principles through mindful leadership and a positive work and family culture is inherently a better way to live our working and non-working lives. The benefits ought to be felt by the individuals and the environment you are working in whether that be the home or the office.

To get a grip on the basics of wellbeing as I am talking about here, (rather than an idea that you kind of feel happy most of the time):

“Mental (or psychological) well-being is defined as a state of well-being in which every individual realises his or her own potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, as well as being able to make a contribution to her or his community” (Carr, 2013).

A key leader in the field of Positive Psychology, Martin Seligman, in 2012 wrote his pivotal work Flourish which promotes a clear model to look at the building blocks of what makes up our sense of well-being and enables us to cope with stress and reach our potential. His PERMA model encompassed key psychological frameworks and research that affect psychological wellbeing and wraps them up in an acronym that makes it easy to remember and measure these different aspects of wellbeing in our lives, organisations and schools. Another key measure for wellbeing that often gets added is H for Health. When we meet these criteria in an upward facing way then life is going ok, if we lack in certain areas then we could undoubtedly look at ways to improve these areas for a greater sense of wellbeing (and enhance our performance in our lives).


Positive Emotions


Positive Realtionships

Meaning (and pupose)



The Debt Generated by Worry

In this article I'm just going to look at the first of Martin’s principles “Positive Emotions” and how it affects our performance individually and at work. Just in case you need some science based reminders of how our moods effect us,