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Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive by Barbara L. Fredrickson

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People who experience more positivity in their lives grow psychologically. They become more optimistic, more resilient, more open, more accepting, and more driven by purpose. Scientists have confirmed that positivity predicts longer lives.  Positivity is very good for you – there is evidence it helps release more dopamine, opioids, enhances immune system functioning and diminishes inflammatory responses to stress. Perhaps it’s not surprising, then, that positivity brings lower blood pressure, less pain, fewer colds and better sleep. People high on positivity also have lower disease risks, they are less likely to have hypertension, diabetes, or a stroke.  Positivity can quell or “undo” the cardiovascular after effects of negativity. This is your hidden reset button. You can hardly stop your heart from beating faster and harder when you face stress and negativity. But, with positivity, you can rein in those reactions and regain a calm heart.

So why not deliberately think of the change to be on an upward spiral of positivity, rather than a downward spiral. Positivity opens us – positive emotions help open our hearts and our minds, making us more receptive and more creative.

Positive and negative emotions are based on different time scales. Narrowed mindsets sparked by negative emotions were valuable in instances that threatened our ancestors’ survival in some way. Whereas the broadened mindsets sparked by positive emotions were valuable to our ancestors in different ways but over longer time scales. Broadened mindsets mattered because— over time— such expansive awareness served to build our human ancestors’ resources, spurring on their development of assets, abilities, and useful traits. findings are the same in each: people who express more positivity than others live up to ten years longer.

Aim for a positivity ratio of at least 3 to 1. This means that for every heart-wrenching negative emotional experience you endure, you experience at least three heartfelt positive emotional experiences that uplift you. The beauty of the 3-to-1 positivity ratio is that it’s large enough to encompass the full range of human emotions. There’s no emotion that needs to be forever shunned or suppressed.

Interesting study mentioned assessing people with ischaemia heart disease, noted that not only anger but surprisingly insincere smiles induced ischaemia, therefore suggesting faking happiness is harmful.

Happiness is broad so breaks it down to 10 more specific things

1. Joy feeling really good in the moment

2. Gratitude being thankful for others and things such as your own health

3. Serenity when current surfaces are so nice you just feel comfort

4. Interest

5. Hope, particularly if circumstances aren’t good fearing the worst but hoping for better

6. Pride when specific and tempered with appropriate humility, pride is clearly a positive emotion. Pride blooms in the wake of an achievement you can take credit for.

7. Amusement non serious light-hearted

8. Inspiration is considered one of the self-transcendent emotions. It’s a form of positivity that pulls us out of our shell of self-absorption.

9. Awe, closely related to inspiration, awe happens when you come across goodness on a grand scale. You literally feel overwhelmed by greatness.

10. Love combination of all of the above

Like gratitude, inspiration has an evil twin. Whether you call it resentment or envy, it arises when we see human excellence and respond with negativity. We grumble, mock, tear the person down, or beat ourselves up for not doing equally well. When we compare ourselves with someone who does better than we do, sometimes we get discouraged instead of inspired. Whether you respond to human excellence with positivity or negativity is a choice. It’s a choice about whether your heart is open or closed. Being in a positive frame of mind brings broader thinking. With this choice you step onto an upward spiral or a downward spiral.

Positivity can be found everywhere. Yet, in all cases, positivity is fragile. Whether it’s a moment of joy, serenity, or inspiration, it can be squashed in the flash of an eye or in the firing of a few neurons. Ask yourself ‘what is going right in the world’ this will help you obtain a positive mindset.

Positivity makes you see connections and feel more related to others. There was a study mentioned about being able to identify those of different races faster if more positive!

More than others, people with resilient personality styles make use of both positivity and openness. The openness that comes with positivity is what enables them to see the big picture, appreciate the now, and find the good within the bad. Openness is what dissolves negativity and enables people to make a strong comeback.

Three basics ways to deal with the question “How do I deal with the negative people in my life?”

1. Modify the social situation

2. Attend to it differently

3. Change the meaning

Although it may well be possible to limit your exposure to this negative person, doing so should perhaps be your last recourse.

Your thinking reveals how you interpret your current circumstances, the meaning you find within them. A key way, then, to increase your positivity and move your positivity ratio to higher ground is to find positive meaning more frequently within your day-to-day life circumstances. Open your eyes to kindness and gratitude. Savour goodness when you see it. Visualize your best possible future. Be more social. Go outside. These are the small changes you can make to elevate your positivity any time you want. Together these approaches will unlock more of the six most common positive emotions within you— love, joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, and hope. As they do so, they will open your mindset and put you on a course of resilience and growth.

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