Find More Emotional Balance With the Positivity Rate

Negative thinking has its advantages, but many of us could use a little more optimism in our lives, whether for greater productivity or just to feel a little more balanced. You can learn to be happier with a “3: 1 ratio” for positivity.

It sounds corny, but research confirms that being in a good mood gives you better work. Of course, this is not true for everyone. But if this is for you, or if you just want a little more optimism in general, think about the amount of positive emotional experiences you have each day.

In Failure Fast, Failure Often, author Ryan Babino discusses research by psychologist and University of North Carolina professor Barbara Fredrickson, who found that optimism positively affects your resourcefulness, skill, and resilience . They attribute her “3: 1 ratio” to being positive:

… that to have a balanced and prosperous life, you need at least three positive emotional experiences for every negative one. Positive experiences shouldn’t matter much – it could be something as simple as a walk … it’s important that positive experiences happen regularly and at least three times more often than negative ones.

But let’s not throw the negative out the window entirely. It sounds strange, but research also shows that some people can be motivated by a healthy dose of pessimism.

The point is that there is something useful in both negative and positive emotions. You just need to know how they affect various aspects of your productivity and well-being. It ultimately helps you figure out what works for you, and you can always adjust the ratio accordingly.

Correction : Fredrickson removed some information from her original research, abandoning the model she used to come up with the 3: 1 ratio. Although the model was dropped, Fredrickson’s research still points to a link between optimism and productivity. The hotfix states that “other elements in the article remain in effect and are not affected by this hotfix notice,” and Fredrickson wrote an update response here .

Positive Impacts and Complex Dynamics of Human Prosperity | via Fail Fast, Fail Of Fail Often


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