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Want to Increase Your Energy and Improve Your Mood? Add Some Positivity to Your Diet On A Daily Basis. Here’s How.

On-going research continues to support the idea that, across a wide range of ages and life circumstances, people with higher positivity ratios have better mental health than those with lower ratios. Your positivity ratio is the ratio of positive emotions to negative ones. In order to flourish, ideally you want a ratio of 3:1 positive to negative emotions in daily life according to Dr. Barbara Fredrickson. Dr. Fredrickson has created a positivity test where you can find out your positivity ratio.

The intention is not to make your motto ‘be positive’ forcing a fake smiley face all the time. Negative emotions have a role to play and need to be expressed. When dealing with challenging circumstances, expressing and dealing with negative emotions is an important part of the process. You want to create a mindset of positivity however so you can begin to notice positivity around you. Remember, “where your focus goes, energy flows!”

Increase Your Daily Diet of Positive Emotions

Fredrickson has identified ten positive emotions that we want to cultivate into our days: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe and love. The goal is to increase your daily diet of these positive emotions through frequent mild “micro moment” experiences of positive emotions. Again, not forced positivity but rather shifting your lens to notice the positive more often. The little moments like the sun shining, or the person who held the door open for you at the coffee shop, or the serenity of your dog while sleeping, or silliness of the squirrels running around your yard.

Getting outside always helps me, especially if it’s sunny out. Or reading a book about a topic that really interests me gets me excited about how I can use and share what I’m learning. Or creating some new healthy and tasty concoction in the kitchen.  Especially when I give myself permission to enjoy the time and not fret about how long it takes. I’m able to really savour the experience with all my senses – the sounds from the bubbling pot, the textures of the ingredients as I chop, the shifting aroma as it cooks, the enticing visual appeal as I prepare the plates and then the moment of tasting what I’ve created, enjoying every bite and not shoveling it in as can happen when I’m in a rush.

Noticing the positive requires us to be present in the moment. Worry, fretting and fear take us out of the present and can create a negative spiral of doom and gloom which affects our ability to see opportunity, to feel competent or hopeful and optimistic about possibilities.

Benefits of Positive Emotions

Positivity can be considered an active ingredient or engine of change. Daily experiences of positive emotions help grow personal resources such as competence, a feeling of meaning or purpose in life, optimism, resilience, self-acceptance and physical health. Additional benefits include:

  • Able to generate more possibilities and improve creativity
  • More resilient – in the moment and over time
  • Expanded view – bigger picture thinking for systemic problem solving
  • Better negotiations
  • Enhanced performance
  • Greater trust
  • Better relationships

Feeling good actually drives optimal functioning by building and sustaining the enduring personal resources we draw on to navigate life’s journey with greater success.

Create Space For Positive Emotions

We can be intentional about choosing a mindset that will help us notice and feel positive emotions. Here are some attitudes that promote positivity.

  • Be open – accept other perspectives and the unexpected.
  • Be appreciative – especially to the people around you. Let them know what you appreciate about them.
  • Be curious – adopt a sense of wonder and fascination to develop your possibilitarian muscle.
  • Be kind – starting with yourself and extend it out.
  • Be real – honour every quirky aspect of who you are and let the world see the real you.

Because we have a tendency to notice the negative experiences and related emotions, creating a positivity mindset will help us create new neural pathways that improve our propensity to notice positive experiences and related emotions.

Ideas For Increasing Your Positivity Diet

Here is a list of activities that will help you develop your positivity mindset and increase your experience of positive emotions.

  • Practice catching people at their best. Imagine you have a bunch of gold stars you want to hand out.
  • Naming what you’re grateful for every day.
  • Connecting authentically with people – smiling, saying hello and looking the person in the eyes.
  • Practicing mindfulness and being present to savour every moment
  • When you hear a new perspective or different opinion to yours, be wildly fascinated about the possibilities it offers. Use curiosity rather than judgment.
  • Adopt a learning perspective in new or uncomfortable situations, asking yourself “what’s available for me to learn right now?”
  • Make friends with your inner critic by acknowledging it’s fear or concern and choosing your actions with intention anyway.
  • Know that you can ‘Begin again’ in any moment on any day.
  • Adopt an attitude of “Fall down 7, stand up 8” as the Japanese proverb encourages us.
  • Do your best – whatever that is in the moment, knowing that your best may shift depending on the circumstances.

What we say to ourselves, how we interact with others and how we view the world – whether positive or negative – is a choice we make. By raising our awareness in the present moment we can interrupt the patterns and habits that have formed over the years and choose a positive approach that increases our energy levels, opens up our possibilities and improves our likelihood of feeling fulfilled and achieving what we want.

What ideas do you have for increasing your daily diet of positivity? What has worked for you? Please share in the comments.

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We’ll move into possibility together!

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