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Positivity Ratio: If You Have One Negative Emotion, You Need Three Positive Ones to Counter It

Positivity Ratio: If You Have One Negative Emotion, You Need Three Positive Ones to Counter It

Your positive emotions radiate off of you into your environment, affecting the people in that space. People who match you in positive frequency will gravitate towards you. Being positive is the reason why desirable situations in life seem to find you. Opportune situations arise and it just so happens that you’re ready to take advantage of them. Positivity just may be the greatest element of persuasion. Would you ever let anyone who’s angry or doubtful convince you of anything?

It’s important to learn how to harness a surfeit of positive emotions that you can summon at will. We’ve all seen the person who seems to be so happy that their emotions seem disingenuous. You don’t have to be that person, your positivity can be real. You can experience true positive emotions without the air of phoniness.

There’s a positivity ratio inside everyone of us.

If you take the average individual and ask them to give you a list of negative emotions, they’ll probably be able to rattle off at least 5 to 10 different types. The answers will likely range from envy to shame to hatred. What about positive emotions? Wouldn’t it be better to have twice as many positive emotions come to mind?

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As human beings, our minds can drift back to whatever it is we have the most information about. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson refers to this as the positivity ratio.[1] Basically, you need to have more positive emotions to rely on than negative ones. If you make it a point to store lots of information on positive emotions, you’re more likely to experience those things. Information changes experiences.

Negative emotions do not carry as much power as positive ones do.

Two individuals can face the same experience but the one with a wide variety of positive emotions will prevail. Why? Negative emotions do not carry as much power. No matter what the situation is that is being faced, the person who is able to better control their emotions will have the victorious outcome.

Consider that the human brain is not designed to maintain happiness, it is designed to keep us alive. The reticular activating system is meant to let us see potential opportunity and danger. People must take it upon themselves to be very intentional about having multiple degrees of positivity to choose from. Yes, you’ll have to take action in order to live better experiences. But your actions will be meaningless unless you have the proper information.

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Human has 12 different positive emotions, it’s about arousing them.

Dr. Fredrickson, the author of Positivity, emphasizes the importance of being intentional about our emotions. She outlines a basic method of harnessing more positivity without being the cliché, fake happy person.

There are about 12 different positive emotions; gratitude, joy, serenity, interest, pride, hope, amusement, inspiration, love, altruism, relief, and awe.[2]

Fredrickson defines 10 of these 12 emotions in her book, leaving out altruism and relief. These positive emotions allow you to your face challenges with a clear head and operate on higher levels. Positive emotions change both your biochemistry and you’re mindset simultaneously.

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We can trigger certain muscles within your body and arouse positive emotions.

The next time you feel that a smile could do you some good but you’re not particularly in the mood, try this exercise.[3] Lift up the corners of your mouth stretching the corners back towards your ears while raising your eyebrows. Tilt your head upward and hold this expression for 20 seconds or longer if it feels natural.

Emotions such as regret and disappointment can dredge up negative emotions. Regrets can also signify that you have not moved on from the situation. Experience the psychological benefit of writing down what it is that you need to get over, seal it in an envelope and symbolically moving on. The exercise was conducted by associate professor of marketing, Xiuping Liu, at the National University of Singapore Business School. Liu found that those who participated in the exercise felt better and achieved psychological closure.[4] Iris Hung from the National University of Singapore made an incredible discovery about willpower. By simply tensing up your muscles, you can increase the amount of willpower you feel in your body.

The ideal positivity ratio is 3:1.

It’s ideal to have three positive emotions for every one negative emotion that brings you down.

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Completely eliminating negativity is not the goal, it’s not possible or healthy. Broaden your awareness so that you are more capable of seeing all of the good that is around you. By becoming more mindful of your emotions, you teach yourself to value positivity to a greater degree.

Increase your inner awareness by being more observant of your emotions. Track your positivity ratio throughout the day and give greater priority to the activities that bring you happiness. Be curious, this is a positive emotion too. Use your curiosity to remain open to experiencing something new and expecting good to come from it.

Reference

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Last Updated on October 30, 2019

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

How the Stages of Change Model Helps You Change Your Habits

Change is tough, there’s no doubt about it. Old habits are hard to shift, and adopting a new lifestyle can feel like an uphill battle!

In this article, you will learn about a simple yet powerful model:

Stages of change model, that explains the science behind personal transformation.

You’ll discover how and why some changes stick whereas others don’t last, and how long it takes to build new habits.

What is the Stages of Change Model?

Developed by researchers J.O. Prochaska and Carlo C. DiClemente over 30 years ago[1] and outlined in their book Changing For Good, the Stages of Change Model, also known as the Transtheoretical Model, was formed as a result of the authors’ research with smokers.

Prochaska and DiClemente were originally interested in the question of why some smokers were able to quit on their own, whereas others required professional help. Their key conclusion was that smokers (or anyone else with a bad habit) quits only when they are ready to do so.

Here’s an illustration done by cartoonist and illustrator Simon Kneebone about the different stages a smoker experiences when they try to quit smoking:

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    The Stages of Change Model looks at how these conscious decisions are made. It emphasizes that change isn’t easy. People can spend a long time stuck in a stage, and some may never reach their goals.[2]

    The model has been applied in the treatment of smoking, alcoholism, and drugs. It is also a useful way of thinking about any bad habit. Social workers, therapists, and psychologists draw on the model to understand their patients’ behaviors, and to explain the change process to the patients themselves.

    The key advantages to the model is that it is simple to understand, is backed by extensive research, and can be applied in many situations.

    The Stages of Change Model is a well-established psychological model that outlines six stages of personal change:

    1. Precontemplation
    2. Contemplation
    3. Determination
    4. Action
    5. Maintenance
    6. Termination

    How are these stages relevant to changing habits?

    To help you visualize the stages of change and how each progresses to the next one, please take a look at this wheel:[3]

      Let’s look at the six stages of change,[4] together with an example that will show you how the model works in practice:

      Stage 1: Precontemplation

      At this stage, an individual does not plan to make any positive changes in the next six months. This may because they are in denial about their problem, feel too overwhelmed to deal with it, or are too discouraged after multiple failed attempts to change.

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      For example, someone may be aware that they need to start exercising, but cannot find the motivation to do so. They might keep thinking about the last time they tried (and failed) to work out regularly. Only when they start to realize the advantages of making a change will they progress to the next stage.

      Stage 2: Contemplation

      At this stage, the individual starts to consider the advantages of changing. They start to acknowledge that altering their habits would probably benefit them, but they spend a lot of time thinking about the downside of doing so. This stage can last for a long time – possibly a year or more.

      You can think of this as the procrastinating stage. For example, an individual begins to seriously consider the benefits of regular exercise, but feels resistant when they think about the time and effort involved. When the person starts putting together a concrete plan for change, they move to the next stage.

      The key to moving from this stage to the next is the transformation of an abstract idea to a belief (e.g. from “Exercise is a good, sensible thing to do” to “I personally value exercise and need to do it.)[5]

      Stage 3: Preparation

      At this point, the person starts to put a plan in place. This stage is brief, lasting a few weeks. For example, they may book a session with a personal trainer and enrol on a nutrition course.

      Someone who drinks to excess may make an appointment with a drug and alcohol counsellor; someone with a tendency to overwork themselves might start planning ways to devise a more realistic schedule.

      Stage 4: Action

      When they have decided on a plan, the individual must then put it into action. This stage typically lasts for several months. In our example, the person would begin attending the gym regularly and overhauling their diet.

      Stage 4 is the stage at which the person’s desire for change becomes noticeable to family and friends. However, in truth, the change process began a long time ago. If someone you know seems to have suddenly changed their habits, it’s probably not so sudden after all! They will have progressed through Stages 1-3 first – you probably just didn’t know about it.

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      Stage 5: Maintenance

      After a few months in the Action stage, the individual will start to think about how they can maintain their changes, and make lifestyle adjustments accordingly. For instance, someone who has adopted the habit of regular workouts and a better diet will be vigilant against old triggers (such as eating junk food during a stressful time at work) and make a conscious decision to protect their new habits.

      Unless someone actively engages with Stage 5, their new habits are liable to come unstuck. Someone who has stuck to their new habits for many months – perhaps a year or longer – may enter Stage 6.

      Maintenance can be challenging because it entails coming up with a new set of habits to lock change in place. For instance, someone who is maintaining their new gym-going habit may have to start improving their budgeting skills in order to continue to afford their gym membership.

      Stage 6: Termination

      Not many people reach this stage, which is characterized by a complete commitment to the new habit and a certainty that they will never go back to their old ways. For example, someone may find it hard to imagine giving up their gym routine, and feel ill at the thought of eating junk food on a regular basis.

      However, for the majority of people, it’s normal to stay in the Maintenance period indefinitely. This is because it takes a long time for a new habit to become so automatic and natural that it sticks forever, with little effort. To use another example, an ex-smoker will often find it hard to resist the temptation to have “just one” cigarette even a year or so after quitting. It can take years for them to truly reach the Termination stage, at which point they are no more likely to smoke than a lifelong non-smoker.

      How long does each stage take?

      You should be aware that some people remain in the same stage for months or even years at a time. Understanding this model will help you be more patient with yourself when making a change. If you try to force yourself to jump from Contemplation to Maintenance, you’ll just end up frustrated. On the other hand, if you take a moment to assess where you are in the change process, you can adapt your approach.

      So if you need to make changes quickly and you are finding it hard to progress to the next stage, it’s probably time to get some professional help or adopt a new approach to forming habits.

      The limitations of this model

      The model is best applied when you decide in advance precisely what you want to achieve, and know exactly how you will measure it (e.g. number of times per week you go to the gym, or number of cigarettes smoked per day). Although the model has proven useful for many people, it does have limitations.

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      Require the ability to set a realistic goal

      For a start, there are no surefire ways of assessing whereabouts in the process you are – you just have to be honest with yourself and use your own judgement. Second, it assumes that you are physically capable of making a change, whereas in fact you might either need to adjust your goals or seek professional help.

      If your goal isn’t realistic, it doesn’t matter whether you follow the stages – you still won’t get results. You need to decide for yourself whether your aims are reasonable.[6]

      Difficult to judge your progress

      The model also assumes that you are able to objectively measure your own successes and failures, which may not always be the case.[7] For instance, let’s suppose that you are trying to get into the habit of counting calories as part of your weight-loss efforts. However, even though you may think that you are recording your intake properly, you might be over or under-estimating.

      Research shows that most people think they are getting enough exercise and eating well, but in actual fact aren’t as healthy as they believe. The model doesn’t take this possibility into account, meaning that you could believe yourself to be in the Action stage yet aren’t seeing results. Therefore, if you are serious about making changes, it may be best to get some expert advice so that you can be sure the changes you are making really will make a positive difference.

      Conclusion

      The Stages Of Change Model can be a wonderful way to understand change in both yourself and others.

      While there’re some limitations in it, the Stages of Change Model helps to visualize how you go through changes so you know what to expect when you’re trying to change a habit or make some great changes in life.

      Start by identifying one of your bad habits. Where are you in the process? What could you do next to move forwards?

      Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

      Reference

      [1] Psych Central: Stages Of Change
      [2] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [3] Empowering Change: Stages of Change
      [4] Boston University School Of Public Health: The Transtheoretical Model (Stages Of Change)
      [5] Psychology Today: 5 Steps To Changing Any Behavior
      [6] The Transtheoretical Model: Limitations Of The Transtheoretical Model
      [7] Health Education Research: Transtheoretical Model & Stages Of Change: A Critique

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