SEARCH

SEARCH BY CITATION

Abstract For centuries, folk theory has promoted the idea that positive emotions are good for your health. Accumulating empirical evidence is providing support for this anecdotal wisdom. We use the broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions (Fredrickson, 1998; 2001) as a framework to demonstrate that positive emotions contribute to psychological and physical well-being via more effective coping. We argue that the health benefits advanced by positive emotions may be instantiated in certain traits that are characterized by the experience of positive emotion. Towards this end, we examine individual differences in psychological resilience (the ability to bounce back from negative events by using positive emotions to cope) and positive emotional granularity (the tendency to represent experiences of positive emotion with precision and specificity). Individual differences in these traits are examined in two studies, one using psychophysiological evidence, the second using evidence from experience sampling, to demonstrate that positive emotions play a crucial role in enhancing coping resources in the face of negative events. Implications for research on coping and health are discussed.