Positive emotions & well-being, flow experiences, savoring


Positive emotions & well-being- Happiness and Positive Behavior

Positive emotion is an emotional reaction to express a positive affect. Such as happiness when one attains a goal, relief when avoid a danger. And well being is a state of happiness and contentment, with low levels of distress, overall good physical and mental health and outlook, or good quality of life. Broaden-and-build theory offers a framework for understanding the relationship between positive emotions and well-being.

People who enjoy frequent positive emotions and experience few negative emotions. Along with a judgment that they are happy and their life is satisfying. Although people in a positive mood or experiencing a distressing emotion. However, positive affect enhance many of the behavior we consider to be positive.

Happy people, whether by temperament or recent experiences, are more tolerant and less prejudicial, more compassionate, more focused on others rather than self-focused, more helpful to others, and more enjoyable to be with.

Broaden-and-build theory suggests that positive emotions contribute to more flexible, creative and resilient responses while facing a challenge.

Negative emotion and unhappiness causes us to be self-absorbed, self-centered, and focused on our own preoccupation. Whereas, happiness produces more expansive view of the world around us.

Positive emotion and success

In American culture people believe that success make people happy. The researcher asked, are chronically happy people, defined as those who have frequent experiences of positive emotions, more successful in multiple domain of life?

The answer is yes. Happy people found to enjoy greater success in marriage, friendship, income, work, and mental and physical health. They have more satisfying marriages, are more likable and extraverted and have richer network of friends. Also they cope more effectively with challenge, and have higher incomes.

Happiness precedes as well as follows success. And many of the effects of positive emotions were paralleled by experimental research. Positive emotions seem to build people’s intellectual, psychological, and social resources that contribute to success & well-being. Whereas success seems to contribute to enhanced happiness.

Positive emotions and Flourishing

The strong connection between  positive emotions and individual success and health raise the possibility that positive emotions might signify optimal functioning.

Fredrickson and Losada, described the relationship between people’s emotional experiences and their level of optimal functioning. They drew on Corey Keyes work and his model of complete mental health as flourishing.

Flourishing is the state of optimal human functioning  that is at the opposite end of the continuum from mental illness. In other words, flourishing is complete mental health.

Languishing is a state that divides mental health from mental illness and is characterized by a feeling of emptiness, hollowness, or what people used to call melancholy. Languishing individual’s have few symptoms of mental illness, but they also have few symptoms of mental health.

Scores on questionnaire items measuring high SWB define flourishing. Self-acceptance, personal growth, purpose in life, environmental mastery, autonomy, positive relations with others and positive social functioning, including social acceptance.

Flow Experiences

Think of an activity or experience in which you become totally absorbed and lose yourself in the moment. At the same time, you are highly effective in experiencing your skill. And don’t have to think about what you are doing. In fact, once you start to think and analyze, the whole experience ends and you are back to your everyday state of mind. Ordinary people described this same kind of experience that many referred to as “flow“.

Flow is a state of mind in which a person becomes fully immersed in an activity and lose yourself in the moment.

Rock climbers, dancers, chess players, basketball players, musicians and painters describe how they get lost in the moment of creativity or performance. Doing their best, but feeling “outside themselves,” as if they were watching it all happen from an external perspective. They engaged in flow-producing activities for the intrinsic enjoyment those activity produced.

Typical state of mind that we will call our “8-5 mind” constructs the experience flow. Our 8-5 mind is the one that goes to work, balances the checkbook, and analyze what, when, and how we are going to solve problems. And tackle various daily tasks.

In flow, we are “out of our mind” in the same sense of breaking through the dominance of normal consciousness. When normal mind intrudes, we lose the flow.

To the 8-5 mind, by the end of the week at school or work, most of us feel at least a bit stressed, Worn down and ready for the weekend. Because flow associates with enjoyment and an ending feeling of “whew, that was great!”. It would seem to follow that reduced stress would be one of the benefits of flow.


Most of us have experienced the difference between hurriedly eating a hamburger at a fast food restaurant and a relaxed candle light dinner where each bite of food and each sip of wine is consumed slowly in order to appreciate and enjoy the sensual pleasure it offers.

Bryant and Verhoff argue that savoring a good meal offers a more general model of savoring good moments in life and increasing the intensity and frequency of our positive experiences.

However, they assumed that savoring is that “people have capacities to attend to, appreciate and enhance the positive experiences in their lives”.

Bryant and Verhoff believe that three preconditions must be met for savoring to occur.

  • First, we must have a sense of immediacy of what is happening in the moment—here and now. A person might savor a memory, such as a great time with good friends or a treasured childhood experience. One might also savor the anticipation of a future positive event, like getting married or graduating from college. Whatever the focus, it needs to fully absorb your attention in order for savoring to occur.
  • Secondly, to experience savoring, social and self-esteem needs must be set aside. If you worry or think  about how others view you, your career, with family issues, there is little room for savoring the moment. Savoring requires an attentive, but a quiet and relaxed state of mind.
  • Thirdly, savoring requires a mindful focus on the pleasurable things of a current experience. Fully appreciating one particular thing and all it has to offer, rather than thinking of several things at once that may divert attention away from the present moment and what is in front of us.

Increasing our experience of positive emotions, whether through savoring, flow, socializing with friends, pays dividends in the form of enhanced well-being.


Positive Psychology. Baumgardner and Crothers. 2015. Pearson India Education.

Positive Psychology: The Science of Happiness and Flourishing. William C. Compton , Edward L. Hoffman. 

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