In the previous post from this series we found out that negative emotions are important for us to flourish and positive ones are by nature subtle and fleeting. The trick is not to deny these facts and try to eliminate negativity – this is genetically inherent in our nature, but to recognize the transcendence of the positive emotions and to try to increase their quantity and thus make sure negative emotions are balanced with positive ones.
Research shows that below a certain ratio of negative emotions people start feeling burdened and lifeless and become rigid, predictable and lose their creativity.
And in case you are you already wondering what this ratio is- well, here it is – it is one to three. This means that for every negative emotion that we experience we need three positive ones to balance it off.
You can calculate your positivity ratio at http://www.positivityratio.com./single.php.
Please note that to get a good idea of your positivity ratio over time this exercise needs to be done for a longer period of time rather than once off.
Over the last decades researchers have found stunning correlations between expressing positive emotions and living longer. Positive emotions help us broaden our mindset and outlook and build our resources – this is the so called “broaden and build” effect.
And lastly, let`s have look at the concept of “happiness”, which has turned into a much of a cliché these days- research has shown that we should be focusing on how we feel day-to-day and not on how to become happy with life in general. When we focus on day to day feelings we work on building our resources, growing and improving ourselves which will eventually lead to higher satisfaction with life. Rather than overthinking and trying to design a “happiness strategy” we should live in the moment and try to get the best out of it in terms of positive emotions. This will naturally result in greater meaning and purpose in life and an interesting fact- less pains, headaches and other negative symptoms as well as improved sleep.
So go ahead- measure your positivity ratio and keep in mind that three to one is just the tipping point and it is best if your balance well above this. Tracking your emotions throughout the day will help you become more mindful of your sources of positive and negative emotions, compare reality of where you want to be and find ways to increase positive ones.
For more suggestions on how to increase the positive emotions that you experience – have a look at the previous post from this series – http://funandinterestinglife.com/positive-psychology-part-1-the-tiny-engines-of-happiness/.