• Our Emotional Dimension

    The National Task Force on Lawyer Well-Being describes our emotional well-being dimension as "recognizing the importance of emotions" and "developing the ability to identify and manage our own emotions to support mental health, achieve goals, and inform decision-making."
    Positive psychologists explain that well-being is not just feeling good (known as hedonic well-being); it involves functioning well (known as eudaimonic well-being). The eu is Greek for "good." To function well (in both good times and stressful times), let's deepen our understanding of the pivotal role of emotions in our professional and personal lives, and how we can self-regulate, intentionally toggling into our eustress zone (again, the eu is Greek for "good") rather than catapulting into our distress zone. We can also get to know our Individual Zone of Optimal Functioning (Dr. Yuri Hanin's concept of IZOF) discussed in our physical well-being dimension.
    To cultivate our individual emotional well-being, let's explore four concepts:
    • Dr. Barbara Fredrickson's "broaden-and-build" theory of positive emotions: Fredrickson, a positive psychologist, explains that positivity does not just feel good; it changes the way we think and transforms how we see the world; positive emotions expand our creativity while negative emotions can have a narrowing effect
    • Dr. Barbara Fredrickson's "upward spiral" theory: when we actively seek to cultivate positive emotions, our minds open to a broader array of possibilities, solutions, and opportunities; positivity and openness reinforce one another, helping us accumulate physical, social, intellectual, and psychological resources to help us through challenging times
    • The framing role of negative emotions: As Fredrickson points out, negative emotions are "appropriate and useful" in certain life moments; but we can learn to situate negativity in a broader framework with positivity playing a more dominant role; Fredrickson says, "positivity is a choice"
    • Optimistic explanatory style: Through the research of Dr. Martin Seligman, we can begin to notice whether we view life circumstances (good and bad) as (1) permanent or temporary, (2) pervasive or situational, and (3) personally driven or externally influenced; we can craft "appraisal scripts" to help us process events in healthy ways
    To cultivate emotional well-being in our interactions with others, let's explore three concepts:
    • Positivity Resonance: a concept developed by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson in which two people can generate positive energy in one another and cause it to grow through three intertwined actions: (1) bidirectional exchange of positive expression (such as warmth and openness), (2) biobehavorial synchronous movements, i.e., mirroring one another's body language, smiles, and other nonverbal cues, and (3) mutual investment in one another's well-being
    • Capitalization: the act of sharing good news with another person and the resulting magnification of the effect of the original positive experience
    • Active Constructive Responding (ACR): a communication style in which a person responds to another person's positive news with eagerness, enthusiasm, or delight and actively follows up with positive probing questions or reflections (contrasted with passive constructive responding, active destructive responding, and passive destructive responding)

    Emotional Dimension Resources:

    Reflection Exercises: