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This chapter is the first of five chapters describing the individual elements of Seligman’s (Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. Free Press, New York, NY, 2011) well-being theory. The first element is positive emotions and leans heavily on the seminal work in this area by Barbara Fredrickson and her broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. Research supports the connection between positive emotions and servant leadership, Avolio, Walumbwa, and Weber (Annu Rev Psychol 60: 421–449, 2009) argued that positive psychology in general is important to leadership development. Specifically, they said that positive emotions (and the work of Fredrickson) can provide additional resources for leaders. Fredrickson stated that we have a natural bias toward the negative that negative emotions appear more powerful than positive ones, and we need to create an awareness of positive emotions. The ten most prevalent positive emotions are shared and described in this chapter. The primary thrusts of Fredrickson’s broaden-and-build theory is that they have longer influences that enable us to discover and create new knowledge, new alliances, and new skills. Positive emotions also served to broaden awareness which led to the gathering of new resources and tools that helped make the difference between surviving and yielding to threats. We are also able to build reserves of positive emotions that enable grit and resilience.
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