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Managing Moods

Positive Emotion Image Map

While positive emotions are short-lived, the moods that they affect can last for long periods of time. Working on the Pleasant Life includes positive interventions that are geared toward curtailing negative moods and amplifying positive moods.

Managing moods includes coping with negative events and can be considered the flip side of savoring. Todd Kashdan pointed out in a comment that emotion regulation has different temporal aspects, just as savoring does. Thus one can use antecedent focused strategies before you have an emotional experience, as well as response focused strategies after the fact. Here is Todd’s example in quotation marks slightly extended:

“I might be about to give a talk at a conference and remind myself that my wife is going to be there and I have given successful talks dozens of times in my career. I modified my thoughts about the situation before it even occurred, effectively managing my mood to be less worried, more engaged, and more excited. During the talk, I might find that my heart is racing after I accidentally belch while moving to the next powerpoint slide. I might realize the absurdity of the situation and when I see people laughing, I might recognize the humor in it if I was in the crowd listening to a gaseous speaker. And so, I work with my emotions while I am experiencing them.” After the speech is over, I can make certain choices in my appraisal of how it went that effect my emotional state. Thus I can either focus on the embarrassing moment, or find other things to remember.

 

PPND articles on Managing Moods

 
By Sherri Fisher:

Feel Better Faster, Learn More Effectively: Use Your Mood Repair Toolkit

It’s Not That Easy Being Green: The Treadmill of Sustainable Happiness in the Holidays and Beyond

Nick HallBy Nicholas Hall:

Is Feeling Better as Easy as ABC?

By Senia Maymin:

The A.P.E. Method to Get Out of a Bad Mood

Kathryn BrittonBy Kathryn Britton:

Social Contagion: Spiral Up or Spiral Down?

Taking Positive Psychology to Work: The Reframing Skill

Self-Talk: A Positive Intervention Under Construction

By Gloria Park:

Physical Activity and the Good Life

Caroline MillerBy Caroline Miller:

How to Be Happy at College and Beyond! Notes from One Mom to a College Freshman

Living in the No-Regrets Zone

By Giselle Nicholson:

Retrospective Visualization

Dave ShearonBy Dave Shearon:

ABC’ing Parental Involvement

On a Grumpy Day

The Three Bears

By Angus Skinner:

Do Not Take the Contemplative Panic!

By Bridget Grenville-Cleave:

Regrets, I’ve Had a Few: How Finding the Silver Lining Contributes to Happiness and Maturity

By Sulynn:

People in Little Boxes on Wheels

 
Other resources for Managing Moods

 
Ben-Shahar, T. (2007). Happier: Learn the Secrets to Daily Joy and Lasting Fulfillment. McGraw-Hill Professional.

Video clip of Tal Ben-Shahar on The Daily Show

Fredrickson, B. (1998). What good are positive emotions? Review of General Psychology, 2, 300-319. Available here.

Fredrickson, B. (2001). cThe role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56, 218-226. Available here.

Fredrickson, B. (2003). The value of positive emotions: The emerging science of positive psychology is coming to understand why it’s good to feel good. American Scientist, 91, 330-335. Available here.

Fredrickson, B. & Losada, M. (2005). Positive affect and the positive dynamics of human flourishing. American Psychologist, 60, 678-686.

Fredrickson, B. (2009). Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive. New York: Crown.

James Gross

Gross, J., Ed. (2006). Handbook of Emotion Regulation. New York: Guilford Press.
Lyubomirsky, S. (2008). The How of Happiness: A Scientific Approach to Getting the Life You Want. New York: Penguin Books.

Happiness activity number 6 is Developing Strategies for Coping (pp. 151-168).

Nezlek, J. & Kuppens, P. (2008). Regulating positive and negative emotions in daily life. Journal of Personality.76(3), 561-579.

 
Positive Emotion Image Map
 

Triggers and Priming

One good way to manage moods is to be aware of the triggers that elicit either positive or negative emotions. With awareness, one can avoid situations that elicit negative emotions, understand and manage the negative emotions better when they occur, and seek out situations that elicit positive emotions.

 
PPND articles on Triggers (positive and negative)

 
David PollayBy David J. Pollay:

Let Positive Triggers Turn on Your Best Self

Share Your Dreams: Let People Help You

It’s Not a Catastrophe! Don’t Build a Jack Story

By Sherri Fisher:

The Positive Psychology of Shopping

By Elizabeth Peterson:

Positive Priming

Positive Emotion Image Map

Positive to Negative Ratio

Researchers have shown that the positive to negative ratio (PNR) is strongly related to outcomes in different contexts, including marriage and business teams. For example, flourishing marriages tend to have high ratios between positive and negative exchanges (according to Gottman, greater than 5 to 1), while failing marriages tend to have low ratios (less than 1 to 1). The Losada line shown below and named after Marcial Losada, is a line based on various sets of outcome data indicating the boundary between flourishing and languishing outcomes (Fredrickson & Losada, 2005). While it is hard to imagine a marriage or business team having a scorekeeper to keep track of the PNR, an awareness that a high PNR is helpful can help people work toward more effective exchanges.


Losada Line

 
PPND Articles that reference the Positive-Negative Ratio (PNR)

 
By Senia Maymin:

Happiness at Work

By Bridget Grenville-Cleave:

Caring and Sharing in Business: Do We Practice What We Preach?

By Doug Turner:

Flourishing with the Positive

By Jen Hausmann:

The Right Fit Makes a Difference

 
Other Resources on PNR

 
Fredrickson, B. & Losada, M. (2005). Positive affect and the positive dynamics of human flourishing. American Psychologist, 60, 678-686.

Losada & Heaphy (2004). The role of positivity and connectivity in the performance of business teams: A nonlinear dynamics model. American Behavioral Scientist, 47, 740-765.

Losada, M. (2005). A posting in The Ten Faces of Innovation on the concept of The devil’s advocate.

Gottman, J. M. (1994). What Predicts Divorce?: The Relationship Between Marital Processes and Marital Outcomes. Hillsdale, NJ, England: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Inc.

Gottman, J. (no date) The Magic Relationship Ratio, You-Tube video.

Gottman, J., Murray, J., Swanson, C., Tyson, R., & Swanson, K. (2005). The mathematics of marriage: Dynamic non-linear models. MIT Press.

 



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