Overview of Extension and Construction Theory

Have you ever experienced a negative emotional response to an emergency situation? At that moment, is your instinct to carefully consider all possible courses of action, or to respond instinctively to war or flight?

The difference between these two responses highlights how positive and negative emotions can guide your life experience.

Broadening and constructing theories can help explain how we transitioned from a survival model of dealing with situations to a broader, more thoughtful lifestyle. The usefulness of positive emotions is emphasized by this new theory in the field of positive psychology.

What is expansion and construction theory?

The expansion and construction theory was first proposed by Barbara Frederickson (Barbara Frederickson) to solve the lack of research on positive emotions and more emphasis on negative emotions.

Broaden and construct theories

A theory related to the field of positive psychology, exploring the role of positive emotions in building resilience. The theory is based on the view that positive emotions can expand awareness and response to events, as well as build resilience and coping skills.

Broaden and Build theory was introduced to expand psychology’s work on negative emotions and psychological disorders.

Rather than arguing that positive emotions should replace negative emotions, the premise of Broaden and Build theory is that two emotions must coexist, and positive emotions build resources to cope with negative emotions.

In this way, positive psychology, more specifically, extension and construction of theories, is a complement to the research on negative emotions and their solutions.of

Types of positive emotions

The following is a list of positive emotions you may recognize from your daily life. How many of these things do you experience every day? Is there anything else you can think of that is not on this list?

Remember, positive emotions are not only the emotions you experience in response to something, but also the emotions you can evoke at will.

  • Enjoy: feel the happiness of the moment while doing something
  • Happiness: current satisfaction
  • Joy: a stronger sense of happiness
  • Interest: Feeling attracted to or interested in something
  • Anticipating: anticipating something
  • Gratitude: feel grateful for something
  • Serenity: Feeling calm, calm, relaxed
  • Love: affection for spouse, children, friends and even strangers
  • Optimistic: full of hope for one’s own future
  • Relief: feel calm about some changes that have occurred
  • Feelings: Have a positive feeling about someone
  • Cheerful: optimistic or have a positive view of the situation
  • Hope: Looking forward to the future, looking forward to the best
  • Entertainment: find something humorous, pleasant or interesting
  • Pride: I feel like I’m doing a good job
  • Awe: being surprised at something (for example, taking time to appreciate nature)
  • Inspiration: Feeling that you have a reason to do something or have a goal
  • Confidence: feel proud of oneself, bold, optimistic, or in control
  • Surprise: In a positive sense, happy with unexpected results
  • Altruism: feel happy when helping others
  • Admiration: looking at someone and liking certain aspects of him
  • Enthusiasm: Excitement or feeling a positive emotion
  • Euphoria: a surge of positive emotions related to people, places, or things

In addition to understanding the types of positive emotions, it is also important to understand the benefits of these positive emotions.

The benefits of positive emotions

The broadening and construction theory believes that positive emotions will lead to the broadening of experience and the construction of resources.of

Try to pay attention to how you feel and how you react at every moment. Develop a plan to deal with negative emotions so that they don’t last too long and turn into a positive attitude if you can.

Positive emotions are thought to have all of the following functions:

  • Improve long-term survival rate by providing you with more coping resources
  • Increase creativity by getting you out of survival mode to consider more options
  • Let you get out of the survival mode and think about the “big picture” more clearly
  • Improve mental resilience by providing you with more tools to manage negative emotions
  • Let you flourish, not just survive (ie, live the life of your dreams, not just avoid your nightmare life)
  • Increase coping resources by building a toolbox of coping skills
  • Putting negative emotions in a broader context helps you see that the current situation is not your destiny; things can get better in the future
  • By paying attention to changes in things, it is easier to see the positive side in future situations, and you can always find something positive in negative situations
  • Increase happiness and improve in a positive upward cycle
  • Give life more meaning, let you find the good in the bad
  • Improve your ability to rebound in the face of obstacles and provide you with tools to manage difficult situations
  • Think of yourself as “wise” and able to operate from a “wise” mind instead of reacting to negative emotions
  • Achieve greater social integration again in the upward cycle
  • Greater distress tolerance helps to respond calmly in the face of distress
  • Ability to resist depression and transcend negative emotions
  • Better emotional regulation helps the ability to manage negative emotions
  • Improve job satisfaction, especially when you experience positive emotions at work
  • Improve your work or career performance by providing you with tools to improve your work and face obstacles clearly

As you can see, positive emotions have various potential benefits. However, it is also important to understand the role of negative emotions and their relationship to positive emotions.

Positive and negative emotions

What is the difference between positive emotions and negative emotions? Positive emotions such as happiness, interest, and play differ from fear, anxiety, and sadness in one important aspect: Negative emotions are related to survival, making it difficult for us to think beyond the immediate situation.

On the other hand, positive emotions promote the breadth and openness of resources in our lives.

Positive emotions also help us deal with negative emotions and recover from negative situations. They also make us more open to positive experiences in the future. They also help to find meaning in negative experiences.

Ways to experience more positive emotions

Have you heard of the “hedonic treadmill”? This means that if you have positive experiences or positive emotions in your life, it may be fleeting. Therefore, you may strive to pursue these positive feelings.

However, they are better when positive emotions lead to the accumulation of resources, so that you are no longer on the hedonic treadmill. It’s a bit like the difference between working every day to make money, or setting aside some money to save for the future to protect yourself instead of working every day.

The best thing you can do for your negative emotions is to start adding a small amount of positive energy to your day. Ultimately, over time, you will develop a more positive attitude and outlook on life.

Here are some ways to arouse more positive emotions in daily life, which will increase resilience over time. See if you can practice more of these every day, or add as many positive events as possible:

  • Watch funny movies or TV shows that you know will make you laugh
  • Practice meditation at the same time every day to get you into a rhythm
  • Write down positive memories of your past events and recall them until they feel real and you will experience positive emotions again
  • Practice a religion or engage in spiritual practice consistent with your beliefs or values ​​(helps find meaning in bad things)
  • Practice gratitude by writing a daily diary or thinking about five things to be thankful for every morning (for example, writing a gratitude diary)
  • Establish more social connections by talking to people at the grocery store, talking to neighbors, or talking more with people you already know (face-to-face, voice-to-voice is preferable to email, text, messaging, etc.) to get you and the other party Synchronization of body language between body language and full effect of mirroring)
  • Go for a walk in nature, listen to the birdsong or look up at the sky (be grateful for the moment and stay awake; don’t just walk through the forest or be distracted by your thoughts on your smartphone)
  • Work with a therapist to overcome emotional barriers and experience more positivity in life
  • Identify and strive to improve stressful life conditions, thereby reducing the incentives for negative emotions
  • Even if everything seems to be wrong, look for a glimmer of hope in the situation
  • Be helpful and help others by giving them gifts, helping them with housework, or just calling people who may be lonely
  • Take a long hot bath, paint or read a funny romance novel to practice self-care

Strategies that you determine and choose by yourself may be the most effective because they will suit what you are already doing and are easier to maintain.

It is also helpful to realize that negative emotions are always present, even if you are trying to build your positive emotions. The goal is not to eliminate your negative emotions, but to develop a set of tools to better manage and respond to them when they appear.

It is through this long-term accumulation of resources, rather than short-term pursuit of happiness, that you can experience greater joy and satisfaction in life.

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Although you might think that if you are stuck in a negative cycle, you can’t use positive emotions, but taking a small step each day may help. The goal of the Broaden and Build theory is not to say that you will never experience anything negative-the idea is that you can build your resilience through small positive behaviors every day.

It is also important to remember that if negative emotions have become a pattern, it may be helpful to talk to a mental health professional (such as a therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist) to rule out depression or other causes.

In some cases, it may be necessary to treat an underlying mental health condition, such as depression, with therapy or medication before trying to build positive emotions.

Although broadening and constructing theories are based on the concept of positive emotions over time to build resilience, it is also valuable to change the negative neural pathways you build over time by looking at the world in a more realistic way. In other words, you can use these new thinking patterns as a stepping stone towards positive emotions.