Savor The Delights Of The day
Let Me Introduce You To MICRO-MOMENTS!
Hey, I saw this title for a study paper news release and started to yawn! [Savoring Happy Moments Helps Build Emotional Strength] It’s so OBVIOUS I thought, “Why are they wasting college funds studying something so boring and silly?”
But then… wait a minute! Barbara Fredrickson, a professor of psychology in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, introduced this new word concept “micro-moment”.
I love it!
Frederickson had 86 volunteers provided daily “emotion reports” over a one-month period, instead of answering the usual general questions such as how much joy they felt over the last few months.
Getting those daily reports helped gather more accurate recollections of feelings and allowed us to capture emotional ups and downs.
“This study shows that if happiness is something you want out of life, then focusing daily on the small moments and cultivating positive emotions is the way to go,” Frederickson said. “Those small moments let positive emotions blossom, and that helps you become more open. That openness then helps us build resources that can help us rebound better from adversity and stress, ward off depression and continue to grow.”
Fredrickson also found that the levels of positive emotions that produced good benefits didn’t have to be sensational! Positive emotional growth could thrive, even in days that included negative emotions.
What all this comes down to is the importance of the need to to focus on small positive moments, or “micro-moments”. These can produce good feelings.
To quote Frederickson, “A lot of times we get so wrapped up in thinking about the future and the past that we are blind to the goodness we are steeped in already, whether it’s the beauty outside the window or the kind things that people are doing for you.”
The lesson is clear: it’s better to be open and flexible, to be appreciative of whatever good you do find in your daily circumstances, rather than focusing on bigger questions.
In that sense self-development books and seminars may do harm: focusing the person majorly on distant goals that can seem so remote, they do not contribute anything to the present, other than a sense of direction.
If we drive from San Francisco to Seattle, it would be a shame to think only of Seattle and ignore the scenery outside of the window: Mount Shasta, Oregon, The Columbia divide…
Same with delights of the day. Get it?
The Frederickson study was published in the June 2009 issue of the journal Emotion.