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The Wave_of_Happy Emotions: How Positivity Can Spread

Everyday Strategies to Cultivate Positivity and Spread a Wave_of_Happy_ Emotions

In today’s world, it can often seem that negative news and stories outnumber the positive in today’s world. 

However, researchers have found that happiness and positivity can also spread in what’s referred to as a “wave_of_happy_.” 

Much like a real wave in the ocean, positive emotions and experiences can cascade from one person to another under the right conditions.

The Concept

The idea behind a wave_of_happy_ is that when one person feels joy, relief, excitement, or other positive emotions, they may consciously or subconsciously express this to people around them through smiles, laughter, or sharing what brought them happiness. 

If the recipients are open to it, they can feel some of those positive vibes rub off on them as well. This helps them feel better in the moment which makes them more likely to pass that good feeling on to others.

Over time and through multiple person-to-person interactions, this swelling tide of positivity can grow significantly and even impact communities and networks at large. 

Some researchers compare it to the popular children’s game of “Duck, Duck, Goose” where a positive tag is continuously passed from one individual to another.

Spreading Happiness

There is evidence that waves of happiness are most impactful and spread farthest when the initial positive experience or emotion is highly contagious, unusual, or stands out from the ordinary. Things like witnessing a random act of kindness, an impressive display of community support, or outrageously funny viral videos are more efficiently spread than run-of-the-mill day-to-day pleasures.

While unpredictable, intentionally cultivating positivity through choices, outlooks, and social connections increases the chances of setting off a wave of happiness. Small, regular displays of gratitude, compassion, and empathy go a long way in continually passing that glow of goodwill among networks.

The implications are that even simple, everyday positive interactions have the power in numbers to significantly shift social and emotional climates for the better when they cascade from one receptive person to another and another in waves. Making room for happiness has a snowball effect worth striving for.

Simple Strategies to Spread Positive Vibes Every Day

Here are some strategies someone could use to intentionally cultivate more positivity in their everyday life:

Express gratitude

Make it a daily habit to say thank you for small things you appreciate and reflect on larger blessings regularly. Keeping a gratitude journal can help with this.

Practice acts of kindness

Look for small ways to help others through deeds, donations or words of encouragement without expecting anything in return.

Spend time with upbeat people

Surround yourself with friends and family whose general outlook is positive and optimistic whenever possible.

Limit negative news/social media

Consumption of constant bad news can drag your mood down. Check headlines briefly but don’t obsess over negativity.

Notice the beauty in small moments

Appreciate simple daily pleasures like a good cup of coffee, flowers blooming, and smiling children. Savor life’s small joys.

Express optimism

Train your brain to expect and talk about positive future outcomes rather than always fearing the worst-case scenario.

Engage in self-care

Take time for relaxing hobbies, exercise, nutrition, sleep, and other recharging activities that leave you feeling refreshed.

Practice mindfulness

Use meditation, deep breathing, being present in nature, or other mindfulness techniques to reduce stressful thoughts and boost awareness of life’s positives.

Share your smile

Interact with others in a warm, friendly manner. Smiling is contagious and can instantly improve a social situation.

Count blessings daily. Set aside time each evening to list a few things you are grateful for that day to keep appreciation top of mind.

How to incorporate these strategies?

Here are some suggestions for how to incorporate strategies for cultivating positivity into your daily routine:


Write 3 things you are grateful for in a journal first thing upon waking. This primes your brain for appreciation.


Listen to upbeat, motivational pods or music. Or enjoy pleasant scenery and self-care like deep breathing.

Breaks at Work

Step outside for a few minutes of sunshine and fresh air. Notice surrounding trees, flowers, or birds.


Eat with others when possible and share highs/lows to connect positively over food.


Call/text people each night just to say hello or thank someone specifically for their friendship.

Before Bed

Practice relaxation techniques like meditation, yoga, or gratitude journaling as a way to unwind with appreciation.


Run activities like shopping or tasks with a helpful, friendly attitude focused on others’ well-being too.

Free Time

Energize hobbies that bring you joy like creative projects, volunteering, and nature walks.


Schedule fun social activities, self-care plans, or acts of service to lift your mood all weekend long.

The key is choosing 2-3 small positivity techniques to incorporate consistently each day based on your routine. Make cultivating vibes part of your regular self-care.


While it may seem small, making individual efforts each day to cultivate positivity can have surprisingly big effects when combined with the efforts of others. 

Just as a single drop of water doesn’t make a wave, small acts of gratitude, optimism, and kindness on their own don’t create widespread surges of good feelings. However, as with real waves, when enough individuals contribute their single positive ripple, it builds upon others’ ripples to form an impressive wave_of_happy_ that lifts all boats.

By intentionally incorporating strategies to notice, nurture, and spread good vibes through our daily choices and interactions, each person has the power to contribute to expanding waves of positivity within our communities. 

When we make the effort as individuals, it multiplier effects have the potential to grow exponentially into powerful upswells of morale, health, and cooperation. 


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