Want to be Happy? Look for the Positive

One of my favorite books is “Positivity” by a leader in positive psychology, Dr. Barbara Frederickson. There is an interesting comment in her book about a ‘positivity ratio’. She claimed it was important for a flourishing life – in my words, your joy and success. In positive psychology ‘flourishing’ basically means being a happy, successful, fulfilled, purpose driven person who enjoys growth and development!

According to Dr. Barbara Frederickson, the secret to a happy life is to have 3 positive experiences for every one other than positive EVERY DAY. So that’s 6:2, 9:3 etc.

It now appears that this ratio has been challenged BUT what has not been challenged is that more positive experiences is better than more negative experiences! Thank goodness the scientists have helped us sort that out!  LOL

However, I do like the idea of giving a number to changes we might make! If i just said be more positive, we may try for a while but have no benchmark for each day to assess our efforts. So even though these numbers are not strictly accurate – lets make them a goal and see how life changes!

That is your mission today should you choose to accept it! To look for at 3 positive experiences to every one negative all day.

Frederickson maintained that people who are clinically depressed have a ratio of 1:1 and the vast bulk of us who walk around day to day are at 2:1.

Apparently, if you purposefully increase your ratio – your feelings of joy increase automatically.  To a certain point – I don’t quite understand how they got to that conclusion but we could all do with an increase in our ratio I suspect!  How much simpler could it be?

One of the best ways to do increase your positivity ratio is to buy a journal, or write in a simple exercise book each night (or morning) – all the positive experiences you can recall from the day.  Or type them into your iphone or smart phone as they happen, and review them at night.

Once you begin to consciously look for positive moments – it really does transform your life!

Look for simple things like a beautiful sunrise, sunset, flower, or smile. Listen to laughter and recall funny moments in your life. See the positive in all your colleagues – instead of focusing on what we normally do!

For personal relationships – she claims the ratio is 5:1. Whew – thank goodness the figures have been questioned! If we come from the common sense approach then we know that those closest to us probably need more positives from us than everyone else!

I bet that families who give each other 5 positive comments or experiences to every 1 negative have much better personal relationships than those who criticize all the time!

Wake up and consciously seek out a ratio of 3 positive experiences to every 1 negative. I bet you will feel much more joy – even if the scientists can’t tell us exactly what the numbers are – this is a great starting point to do your own research!

What is your Positivity Score?  It’s still interesting!  Take Dr. Barbara Fredrickson’s test here.



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