Two studies tested the hypothesis that certain positive emotions speed recovery from the cardiovascular sequelae of negative emotions. In Study 1, 60 subjects (Ss) viewed an initial fear-eliciting film, and were randomly assigned to view a secondary film that elicited: (a) contentment; (b) amusement; (c) neutrality; or (d) sadness. Compared to Ss who viewed the neutral and sad secondary films, those who viewed the positive films exhibited more rapid returns to pre-film levels of cardiovascular activation. In Study 2, 72 Ss viewed a film known to elicit sadness. Fifty Ss spontaneously smiled at least once while viewing this film. Compared to Ss who did not smile, those who smiled exhibited more rapid returns to pre-film levels of cardiovascular activation. We discuss these findings in terms of emotion theory and possible health-promoting functions of positive emotions.