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How positive emotions lead to a longer and better life

Formally defined, emotion may be thought of as a spontaneously arising mental state, often accompanied by physiological change. Emotions are a means of self expression that unfold over relatively short time-frames and are related to personally meaningful events which occupy the foreground of consciousness (Diener et al, 2005). Traditionally, a distinction has been made between two main, broad categories of emotion: positive and negative. These are often conceived as being polar opposites of each other.

Negative emotions tend to be a means of ensuring safety; preparing us for something which may be threatening or harmful and thus have adaptive value. But such can also be damaging to our health from causing depression to causing physical illness.

Positive emotions, it is often believed, are just a "state of mind" and that other than making the individual feel good, there are no benefits. It has however been demonstrated, that positive emotions including happiness, optimism, gratitude and joy impact beneficially on an array of areas and it has been suggested they may lead to improved mental and physical health.

Key Theory

The main theory within this area is The Broaden and Build Theory of Positive Emotion, developed by Barbara Fredrickson (1998; 2003; 2005). Fredrickson proposes that both negative and positive emotion have an evolutionary basis as they allow individuals to adapt to the environments in which they find themselves. It is posited that negative emotions, such as fear and anger, narrow the thoughts and actions which come to mind towards a specific course, so for example, to fight or flight. Positive emotions in contrast, broaden one’s thought-action repertoire and encourage an array of responses. Fredrickson highlights various instances in which this broadening of response is evident and has found empirical evidence in support of this theory. In one particular experiment, she induced different emotional states in individuals through the medium of film, and then measured the breadth of individuals thought-action repertoire. She found those in the positive emotion conditions had a significantly wider thought-action repertoire than those in both the neutral and negative emotion conditions. This broadening effect has been replicated by various other researchers and is summarised best by Isen et al (2000), who after two decades of experimental research on the topic concludes positive emotion broadens the scope of attention, cognition and action and can produce a more comprehensive and flexible cognitive organisation. It is then proposed that as an incidental consequence of this broadening of the thought-action repertoire, the building of enduring personal resources occurs. Using the positive emotion of ‘joy’ as one example, Fredrickson states that such causes an individual to be more playful, to stretch one’s limits and be more creative; thus joy facilitates play, which in turn builds and strengthens social bonds and attachments. In this way, positive emotions enrich lives and have the capacity to transform individuals. Fredrickson claims then not only are they a consequence of health and well-being, but a factor in the development of such and can thus facilitate human flourishing.

Flourishing, as defined by Keyes (2003), relates to optimal human functioning, and involves “growth and longevity, beauty and goodness, robustness and resilience, generativity and complexity.”

An important question to consider here is, whether or not the relationship between positive emotion and human flourishing can be quantified. This issue was resolved somewhat by Losada (1999) who studied a range of management teams and rated them on a number of scales. He found those that flourished (as measured by high performance across profitability, colleague evaluation, and customer satisfaction) were those that had the highest positivity to negativity ratio, which was quantified as being 2:9. Fredrickson then sought to develop this mathematical model to apply to individuals and predict individual well-being and flourishing as opposed to languishing.

Key Experimental Result

Fredrickson, B. & Losada, M. (2005) “Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing”. American Psychologist, 60 (7) 678- 686

This study sought to clarify whether or not the mean positivity ratio proposed by Losada of 2:9, could be applied to individuals in order to predict subjective well-being, and consequently, flourishing mental health. To achieve such, the authors studied two samples from a student population and had individuals in each log on to a website daily for 28 days. Here, they were expected to record the extent to which they had experienced an array of 20 emotions in the preceding 24 hours. In order to calculate the mean positivity ratio for each individual, the researchers divided the total number of positive emotions experienced over the course of the month by the total number of negative emotions experienced. They found that, in support of Losada’s hypothesis, flourishing mental health was associated with positivity ratios of above 2:9. The positivity ratio thus seems to be quite robust in its predictions of flourishing and has been found to be accurately predictive of flourishing in individuals and business teams, but also in marriages, as studied by Gottman (1994). He and his colleagues observed couples discussing an area of contention related to their marriage and rated such on measures of positivity and negativity. They found those who rated their relationship as fulfilling had a significantly greater positivity ratio (4:9) than those who did not (0:8), and these were the marriages that lasted and flourished. Such adds further support to corroborating the significance of the 2:9 positivity ratio initially proposed by Losada.


Rathund (2000) in his commentary on the Broaden and Build Theory of positive emotions comments that an integrated model may be more appropriate than the dichotomous positive-negative model adopted by Fredrickson. He proposes the focus of the theory, which is that positive emotions broaden the thought-action repertoire and consequently lead to the building of personal and social resources, fails to take into account the impact that negative emotions can have on this building process. He refers to research and anecdotal accounts which suggest that negative emotions, such as stress and anguish, are often intrinsically important in the development of novel skills. He posits this is largely ignored by Fredrickson's theory, which focuses primarily on the problems associated with the narrowing functions of negative emotions.
Criticism may also be levelled at Fredrickson and Losada's research on flourishing, relating to their simplification of mental health states. According to the words definition, someone who flourishes is "in full vigour" and "grows luxuriantly" whilst languishing describes someone who is “inert” or “depressed”. It can be argued that this dichotomous scale is too simplistic to describe the complexity involved in the human condition at any one time. The scale adopted in the study is borrowed from Keye’s (2002) research, which focussed primarily on making a distinction between depressed and non-depressed individuals. He found here that a meagre 17.2% of his sample flourish, whilst 12.1% languish. His largest group (56.6%) described as moderately mentally healthy individuals, totally dissolves in Fredrickson and Losada’s study and so their use of this scale seems questionable.

Further Support

“A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones.”

(Proverbs 17:22 (Lyubomirsky et al 2005; p. 22))

It has been observed that positive emotions seem to lead to longevity. A key study, and perhaps one of the most powerful, is known as "The Nun Study". A longitudinal study looked at the journals kept by the nuns from their earlier life and quantified them on the number of positive words and posts made. The study concluded that of the happiest nuns, who reported most positive words, 90% were still living past the age of 85 years. However at the same age of 85, only approximately 30% of the least happy nuns, who reported the least number of positive posts, were alive. The happiest nuns, on average, lived a 9.3 years longer than the least happy nuns (Danner, Snowden & Frieson 2001). This study is particularly good as all the nuns were in the same environment, all live very similar lifestyles, and if the result is valid, then happiness and positivity may have a greater impact upon longevity than abstinence from alcoholism or smoking.

Further support for the health benefits associated with positive emotion comes from research showing individuals who frequently experience positive emotions are healthier than their less happy peers. In aspects of mental health, Diener and Seligman (2002) found that happy individuals were less likely to experience depression, hypochondriasis, or schizophrenia (measured through much lower scores on psychopathology on Multiphasic Personality Inventory (MMPI)). This is further supported by Lyubomirsky et al (2005) who concluded that individuals high in trait positive affect are less likely to suffer from depression, while Kashdan & Roberts (2004) found the same was true for social phobia and anxiety. Not surprisingly, happy individuals are also less likely to have a history of substance abuse (Bogner et al 2001) and a recent happy mood is associated with less cigarette use and alcohol consumption (Pettit et al 2001), which in itself promotes better health. In addition , positive affect is positively correlated with higher levels of physical exercise (Lox et al (1999)) and higher sleep quality and quantity (Bardwell et al (1999)). This implies that a person who thinks positively is more likely to create a living pattern predictive of future positivity in their approach to life. It is important to bear in mind that most research is based on self-evaluation, which is likely to be biased. For example, happy people self-report better health and fewer unpleasant physical symptoms (Kehn (1995), Mroczek & Spiro (2005), Røysamb et al (2003) Gil et al 2004)), higher levels of social and physical functioning (Pinquart & Sorensen (2000)) and lower levels of pain (Achat et al 2000, Gil et al (2004)). That is not to say that they actually have different experiences, but ratehr differences in the perception of such.

However, frequent positive affect has also been found to have real physical outcomes too, such as lower levels of cortisol and reduced inflammatory responses to stress (Steptoe, Wardle & Marmot (2005)). Positive emotions have also been found to increase a subject’s resistance to rhinoviruses (Cohen et al (2003)) and to improve immune function (Davidson et al 2003) as well as decrease the likelihood of experiencing a stroke (Ostir et al (2001)), which further supports the idea that positive emotions lead to a longer and better life. Do not panic if you don’t constantly walk around with a huge grin on your face, it is those who experience a preponderance of positive emotions (Lyubomirsky et al (2005)) that qualify as “happy people”.

It has also been shown that having a high ratio of positive emotions to bad, can make you more likely to be successful in the work place. A review by Boehm & Lyubomirsky ( 2009 ) highlights that happier workers are more likely to get better appraisals from superiors, be more productive, and earn more than their less happy colleagues. More importantly, Boehm & Lyubomirsky conclude that the happiness precedes the success, indicating that the workers are perhaps successful due to their happiness.

There is evidence which suggests that frequent positive affect (feeling of positive emotions) is also partly responsible for increased resilience. This is perhaps best conveyed in a longitudinal study by Fredrickson, Tugade, Waugh & Larkin ( 2003 ) in which people had been tested and rated on frequency of positive affect, by chance, shortly before the September 11 tragedy. They were retested after the event and the results showed that the people that previously appeared happier were more resilient to the crisis. Furthermore, the ‘happier’ people also seemed to perceive the more positive aspects of the tragedy (for example being grateful to have survived). These results have been replicated with similar outcomes ( Bonanno 2005 ) Fredrickson et al. (2003) suggest that this may be due to the effect of the positive emotions “neutralising” the stress to a certain degree.

There is also evidence to suggest that positive emotions can improve memory: Recall in long term memory appears to improve and working memory appears more efficient as a result of positive emotions. (Erez & Isen 2002)


Psychological Therapies have tended to focus more on repairing negatives than emphasising and enhancing positive emotion. There has however been increased interest in therapies attending to clients' positives and as a result Positive Psychotherapy (PPT) has emerged. This uses a variety of techniques aimed at encouraging increased positive emotion, and is often used in the treatment of depression. Seligman et al (2006) proposes that depression may be effectively treated not only by reducing its negative symptoms, as in more traditional techniques, but by building upon positive emotions.

Seligman split the idea of happiness into 3 smaller concepts which are ‘positive emotion (the pleasant life), engagement (the engaged life), and meaning (the meaningful life).’ Each exercise devised as part of PPT is directed at enhancing one or more of these areas.

As one example, Seligman highlights ways in which 'the pleasant life', which relates to viewing the past, present and future positively, may be enhanced through PPT. He states that positive emotions relating to the past include satisfaction and fulfillment, and in order to enhance such, gratitude and forgiveness exercises were devised within the PPT framework. In relation to the future, the desired positive emotions of optimism and hope were targeted through developing an array of optimism exercises. Positive feelings related to the present were defined as satisfaction derived from current experience and such was enhanced by encouraging individuals to savour enjoyable experiences. This also applied to the past.

Seligman et al (2006) conducted 2 studies of PPT, the first of which included a group of mild to moderately depressed individuals being treated within the group setting. Exercises such as counting your blessings and keeping a daily diary of positive experiences were adopted with a primary aim of enhancing positive emotion. In the second study, individuals suffering from unipolar depression were examined. In this instance, and contrasting to the first study, the researchers balanced emphasis between positive and negative symptoms and thus the PPT techniques employed reflected this. Findings from both studies showed a significant overall improvement in those who underwent PPT in comparison to the control groups, therefore therapies aimed at increasing positive emotion seem to be both a valid and effective means through which to treat depression.

Seligman et al (2006) suggests that human beings have a greater tendency towards negative emotion, derived from the memory and attention biases that have evolved over time. This is more prominent in those suffering from a depressive disorder, and exercises aimed at rectifying this imbalance and increasing positive emotion will have clear benefits.

Placebo Effect??

It seems that the Placebo Effect is at least partially explained by positive emotions. It seems that the administration of the placebo may reduce negative emtions such as anxiety and frustration, while facilitating positive emotions such as optimism, relief and hope. (Price, Chung & Robinson 2005)

This possibility is supported by evidence showing that negative emotions increase perceived pain, while positive emotions significantly decrease perceived pain (Chretien & Rainville 2004). Data which is compounded by evidence of positive emotions aiding in physical recovery (cardiovascular) following aerobic exercise (Fredrickson & Levenson 1998)

Practical Exercises Aimed At Increasing Positive Emotion.

Exercise 1 - This exercise is directed at increasing the positive emotions felt by individuals on a daily basis. Each evening, you are advised to document the various emotions experienced in the previous 24 hour period. Additionally, you should write about either the best or worst experiences of your day, including also a brief description of a neutral experience. To increase positive emotion, individuals are directed to look for the positive meaning and long-term benefits associated with each of these experiences and record such. Fredrickson et al (2004) had a student group carry out this exercise on a daily basis for one month, and found not only did it induce more positive emotion in participants, but led to increases in measures of resilience and well-being

Exercise 2: The following exercises were developed and piloted on an array of individuals by Seligman et al (2006). They are aimed at increasing positive emotion and the three documented below are those found to be most effective in achieving such over a prolonged period of time.

A - Using your strengths: Individuals are directed to consider their various strengths and try to identify the top five in their repertoire. The next part of the exercise involves considering the various ways in which these strengths may be incorporated more into daily life, thus enriching such and improving daily functioning. Assessment of key strengths may be done informally, or can be assessed using the VIA survey of character which can be reached by following the link

B - Blessings: Each evening, individuals are advised to consider three good things that happened to them during the day and why they happened.

C - Gratitude: This exercise involves individuals thinking of someone to whom they are very grateful but have never properly thanked. They are directed to write a letter describing their gratitude and then convey this to the person in question.

Seligman et al found the above exercises significantly lowered depressive symptoms within those who carried them out, and increased the levels of happiness experienced by raising the amount of positive emotions felt by participants.

Exercise 3: Individuals are directed to set aside time in a quiet place where they will be free from distractions, and write about their "best possible self". This will involve individuals imagining themselves in the future, in a scenario where everything up to that point has went as well as it possibly could and they have achieved all of the life goals they had set for themselves. They should write about the realisation of their life dreams and identify the best possible outcomes. Sheldon and Lyubomirski (2006) found that this method increased positive affect and and positive emoptions, and propose such results from the improvement in self-regulation, reduction in goal conflict and increased positive thinking that the task provides.

Exercise 4:Through practicing the five points below, the authors believe that this will increase positive affect:

“ 1 - Be open. Let go of expectations of how things should be and stop any fixations that blind you to the goodness that is in front of you. Rather absorb yourself in the present moment and stretch your awareness.
2 - Practice appreciation. Take time to recognize the good. Saviour things.
3 - Be curious. Do something different today, something that stretches your boundaries and causes your mind to expand. Learn something new.
4 - Be kind. Make someone else's day. Practice random acts of kindness. Look for ways to become a hero.
5 - Get real. Feel what you feel. Don't fake positive emotions and don't ignore negative ones. Become mindful of emotional triggers and what causes positive and negative emotional responses.”

Visit this website to measure your positive to negativity ratio

Cultural Links

Well-being involves a general life satisfaction and balance between positive and negative affect (Suh et al., 1998). It is claimed such can be affected by differences in cultural background, which it is posited differentially affects the way in which individuals make life satisfaction judgements. Individualistic cultures attend more to inner states like positive affect; while in collectivistic cultures, the emphasis is placed more on societal norms. Suh et al (1998) found in their study that the correlation between life satisfaction and the prevalence of positive emotion was greater in individualistic cultures, whereas adhering to norms was seen as more central to a perception of life satisfaction in those cultures which value more collectivist ideals.

Markus and Kitayama (1991) illustrated the cultural differences apparent in what individuals rated as central to happiness in their study of American, Philipino and Japanese participants. They found that American participants rated subjective measures such as independence and self esteem as central to the notion of happiness, whilst those participants from the Eastern cultures saw measures of interdependence, such as affectionate social support networks, as more fundamental to happiness. The researchers also explored the frequency of experience with positive emotions. Independence related variables, especially self-esteem, accounted for more variance in positive emotions in the West whereas in the East, the opposite was true.

With relation to a link between this relatively new area of positive psychology and more traditional cultural aspects, Chinese medicine has for centuries acknowledged the link between body and mind for decades, claiming that "a peaceful mind results in a healthy body". It is only recently that western cultures have started to investigate this possibility and concur (to an extent).

Uncritical Claims

"Excuse me your life is waiting" a book by Lynn Grabhorn claims to explain why our dreams do not come true, we have bad health and not enough money. She proposes that ‘feelings, the most unconscious part of us, actually create and mould every moment of every day of our lives. They, not positive thinking, or good or bad luck, make our lives what they are.’ This self help book is based on personal experience and many of the claims made have no empirically based evidential support. Although some relevant and useful points are made which have been supported through studies, such as positive emotion can improve your health. Many of the claims made seem far fetched, as in the example that positive emotion alone can result in having more money in the bank. The main idea set forward in the book is that when experiencing positive emotion, positive energy is being directed towards yourself and your life goals, which seems logical. However, the implication that positive emotion alone will result in success may be an overestimation their power. (Grabhorn, 2004)


It seems clear from the evidence considered that positive emotions impact beneficially on a number of broad life areas. Not only have they been shown to increase longevity, mental and physical well-being and general life satisfaction, but are also implicated in success at work and play.

A number of therapy techniques have been devised on this basis, and an array of exercises developed in order to increase the prevalence of positive emotion

Whilst many of the studies examined above rely upon self-report measures, which may be biased and unreliable, the evidence does seem to be very persuasive in suggesting positive emotions have real and tangible effects.

Recommended reading:

1.Danner, D. Snowdon, D. Friesen, W. (2001) Positive emotions in early life and longevity: Findings from the nun study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 80, No. 5: 804-813

2.Fredrickson, B. & Losada, M. (2005) “Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing”. American Psychologist, 60 (7) 678- 686

3.Gottman, J.M. (1994) What predicts divorce? The relationship between marital processes and marital outcomes. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum. (Available on google books). Interesting read about how it is possible to predict the outcome of a relationship through measuring positive/negative speech acts and observable positive/negative emotions)

Additonal References:

  • Achat, H., Kawachi, I., Spiro, A., III, DeMolles?, D. A., & Sparrow, D. (2000). Optimism and depression as predictors of physical and mental health functioning: The Normative Aging Study. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 22, 127–130
  • Bardwell, W. A., Berry, C. C., Ancoli-Israel, S., & Dimsdale, J. E. (1999). Psychological correlates of sleep apnea. Journal of Psychosomatic Research, 47, 583–596
  • Bonnano, G. (2005) Resilience in the Face of Potential Trauma. American Psychological Society, Vol. 14 No. 3: 135-138.

  • Boehm, J. & Lyubomirsky, S. (2008) Does Happiness Promote Career Success? Journal of Career Assessment, Vol. 16 No. 1: 101–116.

  • Bogner, J. A., Corrigan, J. D., Mysiw, W. J., Clinchot, D., & Fugate, L. (2001). A comparison of substance abuse and violence in the prediction of long-term rehabilitation outcomes after traumatic brain injury. Archives of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, 82, 571–577

  • Chretien, P., Rainville, P. (2004) Desire of relief affects pain perception and autonomic nociceptive responses, Journal of Pain 3

  • Cohen, S., Doyle, W.J., Turner, R.B., Alper, C.M. & Skoner, D.P. (2003). Emotional style and susceptibility to the common cold. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 652-656

  • Davidson, R.J., Kabat-Zinn,J., Schumacher, J., Rosenkranz, M., Muller, D & Santorelli, S.F. (2003). Alterations in brain and immune function produced by mindfulness meditation. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 564-570

  • Diener, E., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2002). Very happy people. Psychological Science, 13, 81–84

  • Erez, A., & Isen, A.M. (2002). The influence of positive affect on the components of expectancy motivation. Journal of Applied Psychology, 87 (6), 1055-1067

  • Fredrickson, B.L. (1998) What good are positive emotions? Review of General Psychology, 2: 300-319.

  • Fredrickson, B.L. (2001) The role of positive emotions: The broaden- and-build theory of positive emotions, American Psychologist, 56: 218-226.

  • Fredrickson, B.L. (2003) The Value of Positive Emotions, American Scientist, Vol 91:330-335. (A good introduction to the reasons for studying positive emotions and the key theory).

  • Fredrickson, B; Brown, S; Cohn, M. A; Conway, A; Crosby, C; McGivern? , M; & Mikels, J. (2004) Finding positive meaning and experiencing positive emotions builds resillience. Symposium presented at The Functional Significance of Positive Emotions: Presented at the fifth annual meeting of the Society for Personality and Social Psychology, Austin, Texas, 29-31 January 2004.

  • Fredrickson, B. L., & Levenson, R. W. (1998). Positive emotions speed recovery from the cardiovascular sequelae of negative emotions. Cognitions and Emotion, 12, 191-220

  • Fredrickson, B., Tugade, M., Waugh, C., Larkin G. (2003) What Good Are Positive Emotions in Crises? A Prospective Study of Resilience and Emotions Following the Terrorist Attacks on the United States on September 11th, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 84, No. 2, 365–376
  • Gil, K. M., Carson, J. W., Porter, L. S., Scipio, C., Bediako, S. M., & Orringer, E. (2004). Daily mood and stress predict pain, health care use, and work activity in African American adults with sickle-cell disease. Health Psychology, 23, 267–274
  • Grabhorn, L. (2004). excuse me your life is waiting. UK. Hodder Mobius.

  • Kashdan, T. B., & Roberts, J. E. (2004). Trait and state curiosity in the genesis of intimacy: Differentiation from related constructs. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23, 792–816.

  • Kehn, D. J. (1995). Predictors of elderly happiness. Activities, Adaptation, and Aging, 19, 11–30

  • Keyes, C.L.M. (2002). The mental health continuum: From languishing to flourishing in life. Journal of Health and Social Behaviour (43), 207-222 (relevant to the topic but not necessary)

  • Losada, M. (1999). The complex Dynamics of High Performance Teams. Mathematical and Computer Modeling (30), 179-192 (page 179-181 is the only pages worth reading, where Losada finds similar result as Gottman (1994) did for relationships. Pages 182-192 is too mathematical to be enjoyable)

  • Lox, C. L., Burns, S. P., Treasure, D. C., & Wasley, D. A. (1999).Physical and psychological predictors of exercise dosage in healthy adults. Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, 31, 1060–1064

  • Lyubomirsky, S., King, L. & Diener, E. (2005) The Benefitsof Frequent Positive Affect: Does Happiness Lead to Success? Psychological Buletin, 131 (6), 803-855 (Good meta analysis about the effect of positive emotions, covers A LOT)

  • Lyubomirsky, S., Sheldon, K. M., & Schkade, D. (2005). Pursuing happiness: The architecture of sustainable change. Review of General Psychology, 9, 111–131

  • Markus, H.R., Kitayama, S. (1991) Culture and the self: Implications for cognition, emotion and motivation . Psychological Review, 98, 224-253.

  • Mroczek, D. K., & Spiro, A. (2005). Change in life satisfaction during adulthood: Findings from the Veterans Affairs Normative Aging Study. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 88, 189–202

  • Ostir, G.V., Markides, K.S., Peek, K. & Goodwin, J.S. (2001) The associations between emotional well-being and the incidence of stroke in older adults. Psychosomatic Medicine, 63, 210-215

  • Pettit, J. W., Kline, J. P., Gencoz, T., Gencoz, F., & Joiner, T. E. (2001). Are happy people healthier: The specific role of positive affect in predicting self-reported health symptoms. Journal of Research in Personality, 35, 521–536

  • Pinquart, M., & So¨rensen, S. (2000). Influences of socioeconomic status, social network, and competence on subjective well-being in later life: A meta-analysis. Psychology and Aging, 15, 187–224

  • Rathunde, K; (2000) Broadening and Narrowing in the Creative Process: A Commentary on Fredricksons "Broaden and Build" Model. Prevention and Treatment, 3 (6), 1-6
  • Røysamb, E., Tambs, K., Reichborn-Kjennerud, T., Neale, M. C., & Harris, J. R. (2003). Happiness and health: Environmental and genetic contributions to the relationship between subjective well-being, perceived health, and somatic illness. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85, 1136–1146

  • Schwartz, R.M., Reynolds, C., III, Thase, M.E., Frank, E., Fasiczka, A.L., & Haaga, D.A.F. (2002) Optimal and normal affect balance in psychotherapy of major depression: Evaluation of the balanced states of mind model. Behavioural and Cognitive Psychotherapy, 30, 439-459.

  • Seligman, M; Rashid, T; Parks, A ; (2006) Positive Psychotherapy. American Psychologist, 61(8), 774-788 ( a good read but not essential)

  • Steptoe, A., Wardle,J. & Marmot, M. (2005). Positive affect and health-related neuroendocrine, cardiovascular, and inflammatory responses. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA, 102, 6508-651

  • Suh, E., Diener, E., Oishi, S., & Triandis, H. C. (1998). The shifting basis of life satisfaction judgments across cultures: Emotions versus norms. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74, 482-493.