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Positive Experiences

Elin B. Strand, John W. Reich and Alex J. Zautra

Subject Psychology

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405161251.2009.x


The fundamental building blocks of all emotions, positive as well as negative are the person's experiences: his or her interactions with the physical and most of all the social world. Evidence shows that positive experiences are directly related to positive emotions, they occur frequently in our daily lives, they help buffer the effects of negative events and emotions, and they are intimately connected to the sense of personal control and mastery in our daily living. Positive experiences are a mainspring of the good life, and research shows that when people increase the number of such events, they will report better well-being. Studying positive experiences is centrally related to the positive psychology movement. This movement has created new vistas for scientists and practitioners who are focused on understanding and improving human well-being. It provides a platform for integrating newly developing knowledge of the positive aspects of well-being with what is already known about stressful and maladaptive aspects of adaptation. Positive experiences are most clearly identified as positive events which occur to people in the course of their daily lives. The study of events began with the classic study of Holmes and Rahe who developed a survey instrument to assess the frequency of occurrence of major life changes: large, such as marriage and divorce, and a few small events like vacations. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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