Positive Affect: What Is It And How Does It Benefit Us?

Positive affect: what is it and how does it benefit us?

The positive affect, protagonist of this article, is nothing other than a general psychic state composed of a set of positive emotions. These emotions will bring us multiple benefits. So much so that they have been shown to bring us better health, improve our perception of our body and help our relationships to be stronger and happier.

Now that that is posed, the next question is the one we all think about: How then can we develop positive affect in our life? We will do this by developing our personal strengths, our resilience and our humor, since by strengthening these aspects we will benefit to a greater extent from this emotivity and the consequences of its proper administration. We will explore this in more detail in the next article.


“When you wake up in the morning, think about the precious privilege you have to be alive, to breathe, to think, to enjoy and to love. “

-Marc Aurèle-


What is positive affect?

Affect is the emotional state we are feeling at a specific time. It can be both positive and negative. In general, we speak of negative affect when it is composed of emotions of negative valence, and of positive affect when emotions of positive valence predominate.

In addition, negative affect is the one that has received the most attention in psychology, since it is those negative emotions that are most related to clinical practice. A practice that mainly treats the patient or the affected person and which gradually focuses on people who do not have ailments.

On the contrary, what is called positive affect began to be studied not long ago and has remained mainly within the framework of positive psychology *. The main components of positive affect are  joy, good humor, optimism, enthusiasm, and love, among other things.

* Positive psychology is the current which takes into account the importance that this affect has in psychological processes.

What are the benefits of positive affect?

As expected, exhibiting a set of positive emotions will influence people in a positive way. First of all,  there is psychological well-being. In addition, this mental health, as we already know, will positively influence our state of physical health.

In addition to the benefits in terms of our health,  it will ensure that we have more satisfactory social relations. Experiencing a positive aspect will cause us to develop easier ways of communicating, such as starting a conversation or looking someone in the eye.

It will also promote trust and cooperation with others, as well as generosity  (both with others and with oneself). This will allow us to communicate more effectively and we will be able to generate and feel more empathy. This is how deeper and more stable bonds and relationships are created.


“Optimism is the faith that leads to success: nothing can be accomplished without hope. “

-Helen Keller-


How can we develop it?

Having positive affect and being happy sounds very appealing. Even if we hadn’t talked about the benefits it brings, who wouldn’t want to be happy? We need to be aware that there are specific situations in which we are going to feel bad, which is normal. However,  one thing would be abnormal to settle into these situations and bury the positive affect. 

Thus, we can make this set of positive emotions more present in our lives. How? ‘Or’ What ? Through the development of our positive strengths, our resilience and humor.

Positive forces are those pre-existing capacities to act, think or feel in a specific way. They stimulate the subject and allow optimal functioning, development and high performance. Being aware of our positive traits, in addition to trying to develop those that we consider important, will therefore increase our positive affect.

Another way to develop it is through resilience. It is about  the capacity to face in a positive way the problems which arise, being able thereafter to move forward in our life. This implies overcoming difficult living conditions, so that we emerge strengthened from these situations. That is, it promotes the creation of a feeling of personal development.

Finally, we can develop positive affect through humor. With giggles, we will produce more hormones that help regulate stress, such as adrenaline or cortisol. Our thinking will be more flexible and therefore we will  improve our capacity for emotional regulation.

A positive mental state can also help us to reinterpret the situation. It will influence the establishment and consolidation of social support. Finally, we can say that he will give us a hand when we have to endure great pain and stimulate our immune system.

As we have seen,  positive affect plays a very important role in our personal development, in our overall health and in the quality of our interpersonal relationships. In addition, it has a great advantage: it can be developed, therefore… Do not hesitate to do it!

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