In our fast-paced and complex world, it’s easy to get caught up in negativity and overlook the positive aspects of life. However, it’s critical to strike a balance in what we focus on day-to-day. Intentionally focusing on positive emotions can profoundly impact our wellbeing and help us build resilience. That’s where the concept of a Positivity Portfolio comes in. Developed by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a Positivity Portfolio is a collection of items, memories, and triggers that evoke specific positive emotions. For example, think about the emotion of pride you feel when you see your diploma on the wall or experience the emotion of love when you pick up a note that a student gave you that said you were their favorite teacher. These are just examples of what can be put into a Positivity Portfolio. Educators and students with autism can apply this concept in their personal life and educational settings to enhance wellbeing and promote thriving.

The Power of Positive Emotions

Positive emotions feel good, and they are good for you. Just as negative emotions serve as survival mechanisms, positive emotions such as gratitude, joy, and serenity play a crucial role in our wellbeing; research shows that cultivating positive emotions broadens our thinking, builds our mental and physical resources, and enhances our relationships. 

Fredrickson’s research identifies ten key positive emotions, each with its own unique benefits. These emotions include pride, gratitude, joy, love, amusement, inspiration, awe, interest, serenity, and hope. Recognizing and experiencing these emotions regularly can contribute to personal growth and happiness. In a classroom setting, it could mean a stronger classroom community and an overall more positive learning environment.

Creating Your Positivity Portfolio

Creating a Positivity Portfolio serves as a tangible reminder of the good things in our lives and helps us mindfully generate more moments of positivity. Here’s how you can start building your own Positivity Portfolio at home or with your students:

  1. Reflect on Positive Experiences: Take a moment to recall and appreciate moments that have made you feel proud, grateful, joyful, or loved. These can be personal achievements, acts of kindness, or memorable events.
  2. Capture Memories: Document your positive experiences by writing them down, taking photos, or creating a scrapbook or shoebox. These tangible reminders will enable you to revisit those moments whenever you need a boost of positivity.
  3. Curate Inspirational Triggers: Identify specific songs, quotes, artwork, or objects that evoke positive emotions within you. These triggers can serve as instant mood-lifters during challenging times.

When working as a classroom community, focus on how you want to feel at school and which items will bring joy to the kids’ learning experience.

Continue reading about about how the Positivity Portfolio can be a valuable tool to promote wellbeing for students and watch Positivity Portfolios in action

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