Top Five Tips to Increase Your Positivity
Remember when I posted about how positivity helps keep you young? Well, that’s not all. People with greater levels of positivity also cope better with adversity, find more solutions when they encounter a problem, and have better relationships. Who wouldn’t want that?! I’ve been reading Barbara Fredrickson’s Positivity book and since we can all use a taste of the fountain of youth, I thought I’d share my favourite tips from her book. But before I do, did you know that there are different kinds of positivity? Fredrickson breaks it down into ten types:
Each is distinct and unique and each contributes to your overall positivity. Want to know where you stand on the positivity scale? Take Fredrickson’s online test. But where ever you land there’s good news, you have the power to make it better. And now, without further ado, the five tips that I found most useful:
- Learn to savour goodness: When something positive happens, be it the very small (you find a good parking spot), to the very large (you find your soulmate), savour the experience. Don’t analyse it (over-thinking it can kill enjoyment), just slow down, take in the experience as a whole, and relish it, deeply appreciating each and every facet of its goodness. Savouring is a mental habit that you can develop. One great way to do that, to prolong the positive effect of good things that happen, is to share them with someone close to you. Another good way is to practise with food you love. Slow down, take a bite, and notice what you love about it. Make it last, appreciate the experience. You’ll find you both enjoyed the food more and probably ate less of it – super for the waist line =)
something to savour – yum yum
- Count your blessings: As things become habit, they become dull and ordinary. When you start to recast aspects of your daily life as blessing, it transforms your experience. Try it. Notice someone doing something kind for you. Thank them. See how they smile and then how you start to smile. You start to feel lucky that you have so many blessings. Nothing has changed, nothing except your perspective that is. One way to add this to your life is to revive the time-honoured tradition of saying grace before meals. And if you’re doing that around a table with family, you’re also tapping in to tip number 3.
It’s easy for the kindness of those closest to you to become normal – appreciating it rekindles love. Here’s someone I appreciate enormously!
- Connect with others: To quote Fredrickson, “As compared to people who languish, people who flourish spend more time each day with people they’re close to, and less time alone…. the tie between flourishing and enjoying good social relations is so strong and reliable that scientists have called it a necessary condition to flourishing.” If you’re an introvert, like me, that can be hard. But studies show that if you pretend to be extroverted: bold, talkative, energetic, active, assertive, and adventurous then you’ll get a greater boost from social experiences. Apparently, it’s a case of “fake it till you make it”.
Just smile, say hi, and see what happens…
- Get outside: Studies show that people that spend at least 20 minutes outside when the weather is nice are more expansive and open – both of which lead to greater positivity. So go find some green space and let it open your mind.
Stand in awe at the wonder of creation =)
- Develop healthy distractions: When things do go wrong, or you start to ruminate on negative thoughts and experiences. Things can start to look bleak and you can quickly find yourself hopping down the rabbit hole. But there are ways to break the cycle. The first is to dispute negative thoughts with the facts. – (for example) Ok, so you weren’t terribly productive today. Does that mean your useless? NO. Does that mean you’re never productive? NO Just start to list the things you accomplished last week and you’ll soon find that one less than super productive day isn’t the end of the world. But, if that’s not working, having a list of healthy distractions can distract you long enough to get you back on track. Go for a walk, look at pictures of loved ones, make yourself a cup of tea, phone a friend, google something you’ve always wanted to know. Sometime when you are in a good mood make a list of healthy distractions, include something that can fit a wide variety of circumstances. The next time you find yourself in a rut, pull out the list, and hopefully you can stop negativity before it ruins your day.
So that’s it, my top 5 tips. For more check out Fredrickson’s book. Now that we’re half way through the year, why not decide to make the second half of 2012 more positive – that’s my plan.
What’s something that always makes you happy? Leave a comment and share the joy =D