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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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Published on November 28, 2018

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

How to Do Meditation at Home to Calm Your Anxious Mind

The woman in yoga pants sitting in a lotus position atop a rocky cliff, overlooking a valley draped in fog — this is the glamorized version of meditation you’ll come across as you search. Yet if you’re seeking meditation to calm your mind, a fantastic setting with no distractions is rarely available.

So how to do meditation?

The truth about meditation is it’s an everyday practice for anybody. You could be a mountain climber or you could be an accountant — either way, your home is just as good a place for meditation as any.

Are you seeking to corral your racing thoughts and relieve a sense of unease, awkwardness, or uncertainty? Look to home meditation to cultivate a laid-back, creative, confident, and organized frame of mind. According to extensive scientific research, meditation relieves stress and anxiety, decreases blood pressure, improves sleep, and improves your ability to pay attention. [1]

From start to finish, this article will give you quick, easy steps to follow so that you can meditate at home regularly. You’ll begin by assessing, identifying and altering things that need to change in your home environment. You’ll end by understanding the basics of meditation so that you can let yourself do what you already know how to do deep down in the hidden reality of your mind.

You’re ready to let your mind be, and just be, in your own home — let’s begin.

1. Find the Right Space in Your Home

Where is your right space for meditation at home? Is it in your basement, your bedroom, your living room, or your study?

The right space will be one with the least distractions built in to its purpose. In that case, it may be your bedroom. If you’ve set up your bedroom to be a place for sleep and only sleep, it will lend itself well to meditation.

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The right space will also be a reasonably spacious one. Although comfort is not your goal, you need room to sit. Choose a space that is private, spacious, and quiet. If you don’t have a space in your home like this, create one. Free it from clutter and get it ready for you to meditate there any time.

Ultimately, your right space is one you feel comfortable meditating in, the space you can enter with no other expectations.

2. Improve the Feng Shui in Your Home and Meditation Space

Feng shui means “wind and water.” It’s the ancient Chinese art of placement.[2]

Feng shui improves harmony with nature. Adherents to the principles of feng shui believe all things have energy (chi). The focus of feng shui is to send negative chi (sha) out of the space and attract positive chi (yun).

Here’s the truth about feng shui: it’s not complicated or hard. The following will influence feng shui positively in your home and meditation space:

  • Living things, such as plants
  • Beautiful objects, such as sculptures or even a well-polished piece of driftwood
  • Mirrors in symmetrical placement with the lines in a room
  • Mellifluous sounds, such as trickling water or wind chimes
  • Furniture away from walls
  • A centerpiece, such as a small table with books or an ornate lamp on it
  • Incense or something else that smells good
  • A lack of clutter and an attention to organization that emphasizes the usefulness, purpose, and essential being of each item in your house

Given that feng shui is connected to Taoism and Buddhism, it will complement the meditative atmosphere you want to cultivate in your home.

3. Eliminate Pervasive Distractions That Can Harm Your Wellbeing

In part, meditation is about accepting the existence of distractions. When you meditate, you don’t judge and assign a positive or a negative value to distractions — the ticking of a clock, an itch, the barking of a dog — you let them occur and let them dissipate like waves.

However, in the same way that feng shui removes objects that attract negative chi, there are certain types of distractions that don’t belong in your meditative space. You must remove them.

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In a survey of 1,700 people who visited social media sites at least 30 times per week, 30 percent reported high levels of sleep disturbance and 25 percent presented symptoms of depression. [3]

Those individuals who experience sleep disturbances or mental health issues due to social media are not setting boundaries between themselves and their connected devices.

Part of learning how to meditate at home is learning how and when to set boundaries between yourself and your connected devices and social media accounts. If you need your phone for a timed meditation practice, but you normally receive social media notifications on your phone, set it on Do Not Disturb or Airplane mode during your meditation time.

4. Flow into Meditation Through Time

Next, set aside a time for meditation each day. It’s right to be structured and disciplined about your meditation time.

Buddhist monks whose lives revolve around meditation are very structured and organized with their tasks each day. Structure provides the balance your being needs. Once you are meditating, your mind has no need for time. Outside of your given meditation time, you are completing tasks essential to the wellbeing of yourself and your home.

Consider meditating as the sun rises. This is a quiet and contemplative time of the day when it is natural to set your day’s balance through meditation.

5. Recognize the Rightness of Doing Nothing

At home, you’re probably used to always doing something. When you do meditation at home, you are being, which is doing something and nothing simultaneously.

Maryville University points out that successful people unplug by doing nothing. [4] Not only this, but they set the right expectations for the time during which they will do nothing.

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We oftentimes look forward to the future by expecting something to happen and by expecting something of ourselves. To meditate from home, look to that time and that space by expecting nothing. You will not do any chores. You will not catch up on work. You will do nothing but meditate for a certain amount of time each day.

This might sound crazy, but in taking on meditation from home, you’re not expecting yourself to improve and become a better person. As Ram Dass put it, you are expecting yourself to be here now.

6. Choose from the Incredible Variety of Meditative Practices

As I outlined in my post on types of meditation, there are many different and not-so-different types of meditation from which to choose.

Many beginners find it right to choose guided meditation, for which there are apps, videos, and audio tapes available.

If you are not necessarily a beginner but are merely moving your meditative practice into the home, you can facilitate a practice such as Nada Yoga — sound meditation — by placing a fountain in your space or listening to ambient alpha wave music.

If you’re used to meditating outside of your home — perhaps you are drawn to the outdoors because of the sounds of nature — a practice like Nada Yoga can help you transition into your home space.

7. Understand You Can Meditate Any Time at Home

What if I told you to throw out all of the tips that came before this? Sounds crazy but that is how radical mindfulness meditation really is. We don’t think of it as radical because it is now ingrained in our popular discourse.

Mindfulness meditation does start as a sitting meditation practice. It goes like this:

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  1. Sit comfortably and close your eyes.
  2. Focus on breathing. Inhale through your nose slowly and exhale slowly.
  3. As distracting thoughts arise, don’t judge them and don’t hang onto them. Let each thought go as you focus on breathing.
  4. Treat all physical sensations and feelings in the same way you do thoughts: register them, then let them go, returning to breathing.
  5. Extend this practice to everyday activity, remaining “in the moment” of the body’s activity with each new breath.

As you practice mindfulness around your home, note the physical characteristics of the things in themselves. Note physical sensations: sounds, smells, textures, appearances, tastes. Stop now and then and do a body scan from head to toe, noting what each section is doing and how it’s feeling.

Note thoughts that come and the emotions attached to them: let them go. Concentrate on the breath and the physical activities — including the details of the objects with which you’re interacting.

You’ll notice that your home will lend itself to a meditative state when things are in order. This is where true feng shui originates. You will naturally sense how the arrangement of things affects the energy in a room.

Clutter will disappear because mindfulness tells you to dispose of unnecessary things. Plants will bloom. Birds will make their nests in your backyard. Your home will smell pleasing and people will naturally be attracted to it and your presence.

You’ve Reached the Beginning and the End

Once you are able to do mindfulness meditation even as you are attending to the normal and abnormal requirements of your home, the mundane and the unusual, you are at both the beginning and the end.

You are at the beginning because meditation never ends. Continue setting aside time each day to do sitting meditation in the space you’ve set aside. Continue practicing mindfulness as you attend to the energy of your house, your own energy, and the energy of those around you.

You are at the end because you grasped what it means to do meditation at home: it means letting go of cares and concerns and being in your home as you attend to the right tasks. The right tasks are those necessary for being in your home.

As you sit in your home, rise, open the door and you leave, you are calm in your mind because you are home.

Featured photo credit: Simon Rae via unsplash.com

Reference

[1]Healthline: 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation
[2]Marquette University: Feng Shui: The Wind and Water
[3]Rutgers University: Social Media and Well-Being
[4]Maryville University: How Successful People Unplug

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