Invariably, we all know “that” person, be it a colleague, a family member, a friend. It’s the person who sucks the life out of the room, who bursts the balloons, and who simply drags us down. Recall Rachel Dratch’s character “Debbie Downer” on SNL. Let’s be real, life isn’t all sunshine and it is important not to ignore or avoid negativity, however, creating and perpetuating that negativity can be detrimental to your health (not to say your relationships). Negativity is also infectious so how do we keep it at bay? There is a great tool you have in your toolbox that’s already there, and that’s positivity. Here’s a book that shows us how important positivity is to our wellbeing.
I first came across Positivity: Top-Notch Research Reveals the Upward Spiral That Will Change Your Life, by esteemed researcher Barbara Fredrickson, Ph.D., during my dive into positive psychology. Although I had listened to the audio version last year, I didn’t fully grasp its impact until I recently read the paperback version.
Eschewing the Pollyanna principal, Dr. Fredrickson contends that positivity (and its component emotions) opens the gates to allow for a more enriched and fulling life (hence the upward spiral). For me, positivity is a cousin to happiness, something that encompasses more of the challenges that life can throw at us. As important as happiness is, it doesn’t seem as broad. I began to see that positivity enables happiness, and both are still important practices!
Grounded in scientific research, Dr. Fredrickson breaks down positivity into its ten most frequent emotions (with the exception of the last one, which encompasses all nine!). They are: joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, and love. Just reading that list instantly makes me feel better.
For the next ten weeks I’ll be writing about each of these emotions as it pertains to wellness and wellbeing. I find it fascinating that in it’s concept, positivity is more of a mindset (the “bend” in the bend burn breathe ethos) yet it’s components harness our emotions (the “breathe” in the bend burn breathe ethos). I’ll also be taking these two together as a way to enhance our bodies to “burn” with fire and efficiency.
Stay tuned over the course of the next several weeks with musings and tips on how to enlist more positivity into your day and your life!