I have been enjoying a morning run along the beach for the past few months now (well, I wouldn’t technically call it a run, more like a slow jog or shuffle!). It is such a great time for me to think about things and clear my mind. Something about being close to the water that gives me a real buzz (yes I run along the sand and sometimes my feet get wet!).
On my jogs this week I have been thinking about emotions, both positive and negative and how they tend to come upon us likes waves. I have started to wonder how much attention we pay to positive emotions?
In my work with kids, I love exploring emotions. I have a nice set of cards with both positive and negative emotions. The positive emotions include cards such as, inspired, motivated, joyful, awed, confident, hopeful, happy, respected, strong, secure, captivated, fascinated, powerful, appreciated and amazed, to name the key ones.
When I ask kids to explain what these positive emotions feel like and give an example, I am often stared at with a blank face! I have to define the positive emotion and then give an example myself before kids even understand what I am getting at! What is going on here?
Even as adults, do we even allow ourselves to strongly feel our positive emotions and can we identify them? What does inspired feel like? What does joy feel like? What does love feel like? It is often the negative emotions that hit us pretty hard, or in extreme cases “wipe us out”, but it the positive ones that make life so precious.
Sure we need strategies and ways to cope with negative emotions, but it is the positive emotions that make life so colourful.
How can we enjoy the positive emotions?
I think that the two best ways to enjoy the positive is to be in the moment and to let the positive emotions be like a wave flowing over us. Really the two are linked.
Being in the Moment
The surest way to enjoy ourselves is to live in the moment. The philosophy of mindfulness practice teaches us to do just this. In a nutshell, mindfulness is about awareness and being in each moment! Only by being in the moment can we fully enjoy positive emotions.
Allow the Wave of Postive Emotion to Flow
I love the analogy of a surfer riding a wave. I have use this analogy past when writing about dreams and purpose.
Allowing positive emotions to rise and fall like the waves in the ocean allows us to enjoy them and explore them further. I would like to say that people tend not to resist positive emotions, but in fact, they do! People sometimes fight positive emotions and don’t let them flow. That’s insane! Why or how do people do that? Simply by not allowing the natural flow.
Let me offer an example.
You start walking along the beach or down the street and you admire the spectacular way the clouds have taken formation. For a moment, you stand in awe. But as quick as that feeling comes upon us, we allow other thoughts to crowd our mind. We think about what is for dinner, or that argument that we just had or something else.
So next time you feel that awe or wonder, let the emotion flow. Like a wave and ride it as long as you can! 🙂
So the next step is asking the question, how do we teach these ideas to our kids? The nice thing is we don’t need to teach them this! Kids naturally live in the moment and naturally enjoy the little things! In fact, we could learn a lot from them if we watch them more closely.
But as adults we do need to model this behaviour. And if our kids get stuck, with negative self talk, we can definitely help them enjoy the little things. That quote comes to mind…
Enjoy the little things in life, for one day you’ll look back and realise they were big things. ― Robert Brault
Riding your positive emotions like a wave, can only bring you closer to your life’s purpose, so why not try it this week and be a true role model for your kids!