Create Positive Emotions:                     4 Proven Strategies for Success

Drawing from ‘The Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology’, it is evident that positive emotions sculpt broader perspectives and actions resulting in our future success.  As we all aspire to thrive in a fulfilling environment, the pivotal question arises: How do we cultivate positive emotions?

This article reveals four approaches to intentionally cultivate positive emotions and sidestep the unintentional promotion of negativity, thus boosting our effectiveness both professionally and personally.

1.  Create Positive Associations

Our subconscious rapidly associates new interactions with past experiences. Even before verbal communication begins, our brain processes signals beyond mere words. To foster such positive associations:

  • Mind Nonverbal Communication: watch your body language, facial expressions, scent, attire, and possibly even hairstyle. Smile.
  • Mind Your Language: Avoid using words that evoke negative connotations, such as “problem” or “deficiency.” Instead, focus on forward-looking terms that emphasize improvement and resolution.
  • Nurture Shared Memories: When alone or with a group of people with shared history, intentionally recall positive moments. Celebrate joint successes and reminisce about achievements. These reflections reinforce positive emotions.
  • Music: Play uplifting music that resonates with the audience to foster positive emotions, ensuring it’s suitable for the occasion.

All these cues determine whether others perceive us positively or negatively when interacting with us. Nobody likes being around cranks.

2. Let Others Feel in Control – Feel Free to Impact

Human beings naturally desire control and the ability to influence their circumstances and destiny. When we are in control, have options, and can impact situations, positive emotions emerge. 2 specific suggestions to create positive emotions:

  1. Options: Think of options vs. getting stuck in one possible approach. A multitude of solutions often exists, some superior to the initial approach. When consulting your superior or a client, refrain from offering a singular solution, Doing so signals that you’ve already decided for them, limiting their freedom. Present multiple alternatives, weigh their merits and drawbacks and allow them to make the final call.

This principle extends to our personal lives, be it planning weekends or vacations, deciding on what to cook or managing children’s homework or screen time.

The company of those who impose their will is less desirable than that of those who offer choices.

  1. Future-Solutions vs. Past-Problem orientation: The past remains beyond our control, immutable and unchangeable. Our power lies in shaping what is yet to come. When faced with dissatisfaction, cast your gaze ahead and adopt a proactive stance, e.g. rather than dwelling on the issue of a sluggish process, propose, “Let’s explore strategies to expedite the process cycle.”

Are you familiar with the draining feeling that comes from being in the company of complainers who dwell on past and current issues, yet show no interest in exploring solutions? Strive not to be such a complainer.

3.  Respect Others

We’re all familiar with the stark contrast between feeling respected and disrespected, akin to the clear divide between positive and negative emotions. While the intention to respect others is common, our success in doing so is not guaranteed, often due to a lapse in adhering to key principles::

  • Meetings: Arrive punctually, adhere to the agenda, and honour the time of all participants. Engage everyone, including introverts, fostering a collaborative environment. Read the article  Meet Without Losing Time for more details.
  • Active Listening: Allow uninterrupted expression, encourage self-response, and provide reflection time. Engage with their ideas to deepen understanding, recognize contributions, and succinctly recap their points.
  • Empathy: Cultivate a sincere interest in others’ circumstances, preferences, and adjust your approach accordingly.
  • Body Language: Orient yourself toward the speaker, offer a warm smile, and let your eyes reflect genuine interest.
  • Technology Etiquette: Remove smartphones from sight, switch to flight mode to minimize distractions.
  • Recognition: Express gratitude for positive actions, acknowledge group contributions, and celebrate individual achievements. Inquire about the factors behind their successes.
  • Communication: Keep everyone informed about important updates and maintain transparency regarding decision-making processes.

4. Create Joint Success Moments

The collective triumph in reaching shared objectives is a cherished memory that endures. Forge these memorable experiences by

  • Setting distinct, concrete, and quantifiable goals.
  • Having people collaborate to meet ambitious yet attainable targets
  • Defining milestone objective, thus creating more success moments than having a long term goal only
  • Recognizing achieving objectives: “We set out to accomplish… and we succeeded.”.
  • Setting clear, shared objectives for meetings. This enables us to create success moments by concluding the meeting with: “At the end of this meeting we wanted to have achieved X. Did we succeed?”


A positive emotional environment enhances well-being and performance for everyone involved. We can actively contribute to fostering such an ambiance:

  • Positive Associations: Employ language, gestures, attire, and a smile that evoke favourable responses.
  • Empowerment: Engage others in decision-making, offer choices, and concentrate on future improvements, acknowledging that the past is beyond our influence.
  • Respect: Show regard for others through actions that may not come naturally to those focusing on results.
  • Shared Success: Establish shared goals and celebrate their attainment together

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