You can’t force yourself to be happy or have a positive outlook, to flip the switch with one feld swoop from Off to On. Positivity is a state of being that’s cultivated, one that’s developed by consistently strengthening your skillful perception of events and emotionally accepting experiences.
Positivity isn’t always easy to access. When you’re feeling depressed, shaky, afraid, angry or worried, positive emotions like happiness, joy, and love can feel like too big of a leap. Instead of feeling bad that you can’t connect to these deep heart emotions, I offer that it’s much easier (and more realistic) to bring in a renewing feeling, one that's a little lighter and more accessible.
For instance, a renewing emotion / feeling sense can arise when you notice the warmth of the sun on your face, listen to birds chirping in the trees, feel the coolness the breath as it comes into your body, or tap into small place of ease somewhere in your realm.
Renewing emotions can be the gift that fills the gap between “negative” and “positive” emotions. They can have you feeling less guilty and shameful for not be so happy all the time…which is actually not a realistic or practical state.
Psychology researcher Barbara Frederickson has actually shown that a 3:1 ratio of positivity to negativity sustains us and keeps life moving in the right direction. Too much is fake (sincerity counts) and not enough keeps us cycling into gloom.
So access those positive emotions if you can but stop trying so hard. It's too much pressure. Instead, turn to renewing more often. What feels grounded and good. What’s a bridge between low and high? What gives you a little lift instead of keeping you down? Renewing emotions and feelings will benefit you greatly and keep you far from depleting states without the “Smile. Be happy!” BS.