Thinking About Your Mental Health – Low Positive Affect

positive and negative

Positive affectivity or affective energy is described as the energy of happy thoughts, hopefulness, optimism, vitality, creativity, and self-esteem. A person with high positive affectivity has positive thoughts constantly ringing in their minds and their expressions are positively abundant. Conversely, a person with high negative affectivity has negative thoughts constantly ringing in their minds and their expressions are negative. It’s easy to tell the difference between high positive affectivity and low negative affectivity. The one with high positive affectivity will be smiling more often, will have more energy, will have more faith, be happier, and will have more pleasure and excitement.

An Overview

A person standing in front of a television

There are three versions of our affective state: extroversion, agreeableness, and conscientiousness. Extroversion is the most popularly known version, where we enjoy being involved with different activities and frequently involve ourselves in exciting and stimulating activities. Conscientiousness describes the second highest level of our affective spectrum. This involves the ability to have accurate and thorough thoughts and the ability to weigh information and make reasonable decisions. The third, emotional intelligence, is the ability to know how to use our emotions to help us achieve our goals in our lives.

An understanding of your own affective state is the first step to improving your emotional intelligence. Using hedonic capacity (the good side of your emotional intelligence) and emotional intelligence assessments will help you learn more about yourself. The hedonic capacity refers to how much pleasure you get from doing your tasks. The emotional intelligence assessments measure how accurately you can differentiate between what is positive and negative. When you’re in the middle of a task that is neither positive nor negative, you have a balanced affective capacity.

Mental Health Facts


Research has shown that there are important differences between the emotional intelligence measures used by marketers and other professionals such as leaders and salespeople. Marketers, educators, coaches, consultants, etc. tend to focus on the positive affect they get from their efforts. Their affective intelligence assessment does not take into account negative affect. Leaders, on the other hand, focus on the negative affect that their efforts cause, i.e., “I am really disappointed that people are not buying my products.” They then use this information to enhance their own personal and team skills.

The difference between the hedonic and emotional intelligence test results can provide an important clue about the quality and amount of pleasure you are enjoying when you’re involved in a task. If you are feeling very good while doing a job, then that means that you’re having a good time, even if the outcome isn’t great. However, if you are only experiencing negative effects, such as anger or anxiety, then this suggests that you may be experiencing that when doing work that you don’t like. This can mean that your job isn’t enjoyable for you.

One example of assessing negative affectivity is how a person feels when they are criticized negatively. If you are listening to someone talk about how bad their performance was at an important job interview, while you are focused on the quality of the work, you will experience only positive affectivity. In contrast, if you are only experiencing negative affect, while listening to the criticism, you will only experience negative affect. You’ll become fixated on the criticism, with negative thoughts taking over your mind and causing you to want to avoid the person who is criticizing you.

Bottom Line

When thinking about your mental health, it is important to think about your physical resources. Are you using physical resources that you can control? Do you have sufficient emotional resources to deal with the demands of challenging tasks? Are you using all your resources to deal with the challenge rather than using resources that you are not utilizing? If you don’t have any power to control how you respond to challenges, you are limited in your ability to respond flexibly and effectively.

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