Delight is a positive emotion that’s expressed in moments when people experience gladness or joy unexpectedly – just as when an unplanned event happens that turns out to be positive.
An instinctive, uncontrollable smile is a familiar expression of delight. Often people don’t realise they’re smiling due to being absorbed in thoughts of good news. Delight is a very personal thing that is related to the makeup of an individual’s personality. If people find an activity delightful, they would be well advised to revisit that activity. Participating in things that create joy is proven to be good for people on a psychological and biological level.
A possession may aid or even be needed for an experience, but the experience is what satisfies people. This includes the experience of success. It could be gardening, stamp collecting, reading, writing, football, surfing, paragliding, or understanding others. It could be a parent, child, lover, or business partner that causes delight. If people find delight in an activity, it’s good for their wellbeing and their immune system. It denotes a high degree of satisfaction whilst resting brain systems that are used for effortful processing; it significantly relieves the tension of accumulated stress.
It is possible to find things that delight others, so contribute to their enjoyment of life, and this in turn can delight the delightful person. To focus on and find out what another gains great joy from is not an easy thing. If people have parents that do this for them, they are lucky. To know what delights people is a very useful thing in relationships, but it’s important that people do not neglect their emotional health in the process. People often find it’s harder to discover or accept their own delights than those of another. Perhaps they feel as if they are being selfish when doing something they delight in. Being preoccupied with one’s self is a completely different thing to giving one’s self a healthy amount of attention. Humans have to take care of their selves, and doing something that they find delightful could be considered as the equivalent of eating healthy food on a psycho-neuro-biological level. It can be seen as knowing the difference between what people think is good for their self and what they feel is good for their self.
When people feel positive, their thoughts are automatically biassed towards recalling other thoughts and feelings of a similar nature. This process is called mood-congruence.1 Positive mood functions as a buffer that enables people to cope with the biological effects of negative experiences with more composure and stability.2 When people are experiencing positive emotions, they analyse information less whilst using instinctive judgements that rely on their present knowledge base; there’s less cognitive processing.3 This reduces stress on neural analytical pathways, and it allows the unconscious to process past experiential evidence, unimpeded by conscious scrutiny. Positive emotions alleviate excessive neuro-biological stresses – stresses that can accumulate into serious health conditions and memory deterioration later in life.4 Health problems which accumulate due to the excessive functioning of bodily systems are said to have been created by stress or allostatic-load.
Negative emotions outnumber positive emotions.5 Yet, good health is not maintained by maximising positive emotions and minimising negative emotions.6 Optimal functioning and good health includes both negative and positive emotions as and when they are appropriate to circumstance.
On the other hand, many strategies regarding stress are concerned with managing distress by solving the cause of distress without any consideration of positive emotional states. This is consistent with negative emotions that instinctively focus attention in an analytical way onto negative experience in an attempt to find a solution to the distress. Nonetheless, this instinctive rumination on negative experience is damaging when constant. Positive moods should be considered within any coping strategy.7 Positive emotions pull people out of conscious analytical rumination and reduce their neuro-biological stress. When a person returns to problem solving, the neural circuits that process that state will be rested and refreshed. Mood management is an important aspect to problem solving too.
This may sound obvious, but lots of people relate to the world in an over-intellectualised fashion, for they do only what they think is good for them without any recognition of how it made them feel. Some people would place little value in a delightful activity, which left them with a positive mental attitude, if it did not tick their intellectual box of what is good. Yet they have been instinctively satisfied!
Latin. Delectare = to allure, delight, charm, please.
1. The fact or condition of being delighted; pleasure, joy, or satisfaction felt in a high degree.