Recently I have been thinking a lot about a book called Positivity. In it, author Barbara Fredrickson seeks to explain why we have positive emotions such as joy, amusement, gratitude, and love. Why do I care? And why should you care? As Fredrickson explains:
“… positivity produces success in life as much as it reflects success in life. Regardless of whether success was measured as a satisfying marriage, a larger salary, or better health, positivity mattered.”
To paraphrase, I don’t just feel good because I got a promotion; I got a promotion because I feel good.
Yes, you read that right.
Fredrickson’s research is compelling, and it shows that when people experience at least three heartfelt positive emotional experiences for every negative emotional experience, they thrive. Below that ratio, we kind of just muddle along. Her prescription, then, is simple: Cultivate heartfelt emotional experiences, aiming for a positivity ratio of at least 3 to 1. Her book has plenty of suggestions on how to create more positivity in your life, and they are not of the shallow “just put a smile on your face” variety.
So next time you find yourself thinking you are too busy to take some time for yourself, think again. The time you take to laugh and play is much more important than it seems!