So we know that emotions are contagious. But did you know our emotions directly affect what we see in the world? And our actual experience of it.
Take two people. One happy, one sad. Show them 50 slides of mixed emotional content. And then ask them to remember what they saw. The happy person remembers more of the happy slides. And of course the sad person… you fill it in.
Both potentials are there but the emotion is like wearing a pair of glasses that let’s you only see half the view.
And it’s because of this thing called emotional congruence. Which means we pay selective attention to our world dependent on how we feel. In plain English, we focus on the stuff around us that mirrors how we’re feeling on the inside. So if we’re feeling crappy we see more of the crappy dark side of life. Things look blacker so to speak. But if we’re feeling more positive, we see more beauty. And our creative self comes out to play. It’s quite something to think that we all live in the same world but our emotions determine what we see and how we experience it.
And instead of realising the world is just reflecting what’s inside, the temptation is to play the blame game. Gathering evidence to justify why we feel the way we do. Creating a story. Giving away our power. Rather than seeing that it’s because we feel lousy we are necessarily experiencing more of the negatives in life. And it can become a downward spiral.
Because these moods affect the way we think too. In a study out of UNSW, they talked to people who’d just been to the movies. Some people saw happy movies, some people saw sad or more aggressive movies. And then they asked them questions about things like the future, about their quality of life. Needless to say those who saw the happier movie were more optimistic than those who saw the sad or more aggressive movies.
And I’m sure everyone’s experienced at some time or another how much how we feel influences our perception of ourselves and others…
So if you want the opportunities that come with a positive mindset, it’s important to get yourself around happier people and be aware of the mood you’re in when you’re making those important decisions. Because creating happiness is a choice that we make minute to minute and day to day.
So where can you bring greater happiness into your life?