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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 April 1, 2019

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

How to Be Happy: Why Pursuing Happiness Will Make You Unhappy

When we talk about happiness, we often think about staying happy all the time – every single day, every single minute with zero negativity. Many try to pursue this constant state of “happiness” as their ultimate goal, and avoid anything that may take it away from them.

But, what is the meaning of this type of “happiness”?

It’s a lot like your favorite food. The more often you have it isn’t always better. On the contrary, when you only have a chance to eat it sparingly, that’s when you really savor every bite. So is it the food itself that makes you happy, or is it how valuable it is to you when you are eating it?

Always remember that only by experiencing sadness do we understand what it is to be happy.

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Video Summary

Don’t Assume Others Are Always Happy

Most people see those who have seemingly perfect lives and assume they are happy all the time. Since childhood, we are conditioned to chase the idea of “happily-ever-after” that we see in fairytales. On social media, everyone tends to share only the best looking aspects of their lives. So, it’s very easy to have a distorted view of what “happiness” is around us.

In reality, there is always something missing, something lacking, or something unpleasant.

No one has a perfect life. Even the most glamorous celebrities or the richest billionaires have their own set of challenges and problems.

When we feel negative, we’re only focusing on a small fluctuating curve. As CEO of Lifehack, I’ve had to deal with countless problems, and some of them felt like real setbacks at the time. During those moments, it really seemed like these problems would be the life or death of my company and my life goals. But, I got through them; and, weeks, months and eventually years passed with many more ups and downs.

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You need to keep your sights on the extended curve.  Looking back now, a lot of those “really big” problems at the time now seem like only small blips in a long line of experiences. Recalling them in my mind now makes me smile!

Stop Trying to Be Happy–Just Be

It’s natural to want to be happy as often as possible.

So what can we do?

First, throw away the belief that a perfect life means happiness. Personally, I would be miserable if everything was perfect. It’s through experiencing the pains of lifelong challenges that drives us to care for others when they are experiencing similar trials. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t be able to empathize. If life was perfect, you wouldn’t grow.

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To be truly happy, stop chasing permanent happiness.

It sounds like a paradox. But, what I mean is to accept that there will be ups and downs throughout life. Gracefully understand that happiness is a fluctuation of positive and negative events.

Understand the importance of gratitude. Instead of focusing on the unpleasant moment, flash back your memory to when you didn’t have something. I like to think about my career, for example. When I didn’t have a career I was passionate about, I felt lost and demotivated. I felt like everyone was figuring out their lives but me. But, when I found my purpose and started Lifehack, I was deeply happy, even before I realized I would be successful! This memory keeps me going when I hit tough spots. It takes the darkness to make us grateful for the light.

Happiness and Sadness Exist Together

What it all comes down to is this: your life will be filled with beautiful, happy and incredible moments–happy tears and joyous shouts and funny stories. But, your life will also be filled with rain and storms that never seem like they will pass while you’re going through them.

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But, whether your face is warmed by the sunshine, or your heart is dampened by the rain, know that it’s all part of the ebb and flow of life.

Treasure the happy moments and power through the sad ones. Don’t try to avoid “sad” or “negative” experiences, and blindly chase being “happy”. In the end you will achieve a true level of contentment in your life, based on meaningful experiences and achievements. Being able to create growth and meaning out of both positive and negative events — that is the true meaning of “happiness”.

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