Positivity — Summary

Learn how positive emotions lead to more success and a more fulfilled life

Many books are written about the power of positivity, but many people don’t know that it is backed up by science. Positive emotions make us smarter and more successful and we can become happier just by being more grateful.

Psychologists have shown that more positive emotions like love, joy, hope, pride and gratefulness lead to more fulfilling relationships and happier, less stressful lives.

A positive attitude helps you see opportunities and solutions where others see problems

People with a positive attitude towards life are more resilient against mental problems and see solutions where others see problems. They don’t get trapped by over-worrying and instead search for the best way out of difficult situations.

In a study, one group of people with different backgrounds were exposed to small positive stimuli, which was compared later with a control group that didn’t receive the positive stimuli. The first group reported a more positive outlook on their lives.

These findings make it clear that to attain a happier, more fulfilled life, we should aim to a generally positive attitude.

Positive emotions broaden our perspective

A cross-cultural study found that people with positive emotions tend to feel more related to other people and focus on things they have in common with strangers.

One study found that people who were nudged positively beforehand were better able to detect details on images they saw on slides. Their perception increased their range of vision.

Aim for 3 positive emotions for every negative one

Our evolutionary past was defined by the importance of negative emotions because they helped with our survival. That is why negative emotions have a stronger amplitude than positive ones, and it is the reason why we should aim for a 3:1 ratio of positivity. To gain a general positive attitude toward life we should aim to feel several positive emotions for every negative one, doing so will produce an upward spiral of positivity.

A study where a test group was asked to document their feelings over a long period of time showed that those who had the highest ratio of positive to negative emotions had the happiest attitude toward their life in general.

Using studies like these psychologists came to the conclusion that for a healthy mental state and a balanced life, you should aim for a positivity ratio of at least 3:1.

But what if you experience a lot more sadness, worry, and negative emotions than positive ones? Don’t worry, most people do. But that doesn’t mean that you can’t learn to have a positive attitude with some work.

Don’t give up and blame circumstances like your genetic setup for your negativity. Instead, focus on techniques which help you to gradually increase your positive emotions.

You could create new habits which make you feel good like going for long walks or calling up your best friends. A letter of gratitude or a gratitude journal is also a very powerful way to increase your positivity.

By training yourself to trigger positive emotions you will increase your resilience or your ability to face even hard obstacles with optimism and deal with adversities.

Negative emotions sometimes have their place

By no means expect to get rid completely of fear and anger, sometimes these emotions have their place, for example protecting you from a dangerous animal.

But don’t let them be the norm, aim to overshadow them with a surplus of positive emotions.

The Gratitude Diary is one of the best techniques to increase the positivity ratio

Writing down what triggers your positive emotions and things you feel grateful for not only helps you identify what things repeatedly make you grateful so that you can trigger them more often, it also forces you to actively look for positive things. You can also force yourself to never write down the same thing twice so that you are forced to seek new things to be grateful for every day.

Become more mindful to consciously change your emotions

Mindfulness means consciously perceiving the present moment and focusing on the positive aspects of everything you experience. It can be very helpful because not only can you refocus on positive things instead of trouble, you can also question negative feelings. For example, you can ask if it really helps to get angry because you missed the bus.

You will notice that by doing this process you will get rid of a lot of unnecessary bad emotions. You can also re-evaluate the negative by considering the things that can be learned and the way which difficult situations help you grow.

Use meditation to increase positivity and gain many other benefits

Meditation is a proven way to increase positivity. One study found that from two groups, the one who participated in a meditation workshop reported a significantly higher positivity ratio.

But meditation not only is good for positivity, there are tons of benefits which were found through hundreds of studies, the following infographic displays some of them.


Short Summary: Positive emotions not only will help you to live a more fulfilled life, they also will greatly contribute to your success in life.

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Also published on Medium.