You may know that I’m nearing completion of my PhD in Psychology. I’m uniquely interested in a field called “Positive Psychology,” and in adult human resilience. Bottom line, I want to learn how to better flourish in my life, and be able to help those I love and those I coach to flourish more as well.
A great book that speaks to this science of flourishing is “Positivity,” written in 2009 by Barbara Fredrickson. Dr. Fredrickson is a psychologist and professor at the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill.
According to Dr. Fredrickson, if you can live your life in such a way that you have a ratio of positive emotions versus negative emotions of at least 3-to-1, then you will likely cross a tipping point of positivity such that good things will result in life. You will have better health, better relationships, be more resilient, be more accepting, and be more driven by purpose. In summary, you will flourish.
I’m already a positive person, and I like to look at the world through a lens of optimism. I don’t know if I was born this way, or if it is something that I developed over time. Regardless, I’m content that I’m generally a positive, optimistic man. What I LOVE about this book is that it is based on scientific research that backs up the author’s claims around the benefits of positivity. Whether as an individual, within a marriage, or within a business team, the magic ratio of 3-to-1 positivity versus negativity proves to be accurate.
Dr. Fredrickson shares that there are ten forms of positivity. They are:
The goal is to build upon these. Experiencing any or all of these emotions are a matter of choice. Positive emotions, like all emotions, are the result of how you interpret events and ideas. We all have the power to flip the switch – to turn positivity on and off for ourselves.
Negative emotions, while they cannot be eliminated, should be minimized. Examples of negative emotions are: anger, contempt, embarrassment, guilt, shame, hate, sadness, stress and fear.
It is exciting to know that there are concrete things that a person can do to improve upon the amount of positivity, and to reduce negativity in one’s life.
Here are 13 ways to increase the amount of positivity and decrease negativity in your life:
- Slow down and appreciate the world around you
- Create high-quality connections with people
- Perform random acts of kindness
- Eliminate watching television
- Develop healthy distractions to end needless rumination and worry
- Dispute negative thinking
- Find substitutes for gossip and sarcasm
- Don’t spend time with negative people
- Find and enjoy nearby ature
- Learn and apply your strengths
- Meditate mindfully
- Use a gratitude journal
- Visualize your future
I’m convinced that by doing these things more often, I will experience more flourishing in my life. I’ll bet the same will come true for you.
Here’s to an abundance of flourishing for us all!
Brett Blair – Executive Coach