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The Science Behind The Power Of Positive Emotions

You’ve probably heard all the talk about the power of positivity. Many books have been written on them in the past and have been either praised or criticized to varying degrees. Most successful people believe in it as it’s been tested time and time again in business and sales performance. What does science have to say about it? How effective is it really? Does it really make a proven difference? Relatively recent publications support these notions and show that sustained positive emotions are essential to optimal human functioning and well-being. This article aims to summarize the recent findings and show how hypnosis and self-hypnosis can help you change certain habits, beliefs and thought patterns that may be keeping you stuck.


The daily challenges that come along in life affect us all differently. External factors are uncontrollable and what usually separates a successful outcome from an unsuccessful one is the way we choose to deal, cope or handle the situation. Research has identified many benefits to positive thinking and some include increased life span, lower rates of depression, lower levels of distress, better overall psychological and physical well-being, better coping skills during hardships and times of stress, greater resistance to the common cold and better overall cardiovascular health. It’s still not very clear why all these benefits exist, but theories show that positive thinking and positive people tend to engage in more productive behaviors which include increased physical activity, healthier diets and tend not to smoke or drink alcohol in excess. Positive thinking does not mean that you ignore life’s unpleasant situations, rather you approach them in a more pragmatic and productive way. Positive people try to find the best possible solution to their problems trying not to be held down by their real or imagined fears of them.

What Does Science Tell Us About Being Positive? Studies performed by Barbara L. Fredrickson et al. set out to prove and support their “broaden-and-build” theory which states that over a sustained period of time recurrent states of positive emotions (positive mindset) leads to building on individual personal resources. Experiments and data from these studies proved empirically that sustaining a positive mindset lead to an increase in personal resources which included “mindful attention, self-acceptance, positive relations with others, and good physical health.” In addition, people that were more satisfied with their lives were able to experience fewer symptoms of depression.

Knowing this, how can you identify negative thinking or negative self-talk for your own personal benefit? The Mayo Clinic outlines 4 common identifiers which include: Filtering, Personalizing, Catastrophizing & Polarizing. Filtering, is the process of focusing and magnifying negative aspects of a particular situation and filtering out all the positive aspects by ignoring them. If you set out to do something during your day and 90% of what you accomplished was positive and successful, but you can only focus on the 10% that went wrong and filter out all the positives. Personalizing, is a way of blaming yourself automatically when something bad occurs. For example, you're at the office and your colleague isn’t as friendly to you that day. You automatically blame yourself and think it’s something you must have done wrong as opposed to maybe he/she is just having a bad day? Catastrophizing, is the process of always anticipating the worst case scenario for most of your daily situations. You spill coffee on your crisp clean white shirt right before you’re about to leave home for the office and automatically assume that the rest of your day will be a complete disaster. Finally, Polarizing, includes you only seeing things as black or white, there is no grey, it can’t exist. When you attempt something it’s either perfect or you view yourself as a total failure. Can you identify any of these common behaviors within yourself?

How Can Hypnotherapy & Self-Hypnosis Can Help You Change Your Mindset? The mind is highly adaptable. Positive mindset and thinking start with the right self-talk. You can learn and change negative thinking into positive thinking. Like any habit, it takes time and hard work, but if you are committed to the process and work a realistic plan, you can and will change. First steps include identifying areas you would like to change. You can focus on these areas and start taking a different approach by thinking positively about it.

Hypnotherapy and self-hypnosis are a form of meditation with a specific goal in mind. By using proven techniques, hypnosis can help you along in creating positive change by self-altering deeply rooted subconscious beliefs. Along with practicing daily positive self-talk, surrounding yourself with positive people and having a strong desire to elicit change, it is very possible. Science proves it!

If you have any questions, interested in trying out a session, or getting a personalized self-hypnosis tape made, please reach out and feel free to send me an e-mail.

Written By: Sebastian Di Cesare PhD, CHt - a research scientist & practicing Clinical Hypnotherapist based in Vancouver, Canada.

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