Positivity

By Barbara Fredrickson, PhD (Crown, 2009)  

If you want to wrap your head around the best, most practical lessons of Positive Psychology in the most direct way possible, start here. Barbara Fredrickson, among the first researchers to study the effects of positive emotions on health, sheds light on a recent and fundamentally important scientific finding: In any given situation, a “positivity ratio” of three positive experiences to each negative one is required in order for individuals to thrive and flourish. Any less, and we start drifting into apathy, “just getting by” — or worse.

For individuals and for groups, in personal relationships, business meetings and virtually every other aspect of life, when the ratio is upheld, energy, mood, creativity and good outcomes flourish. When the ratio dips below the 3-to-1 threshold, disengagement, frustration and negativity take hold.

Fredrickson offers a self-test to help you assess your own current level of positivity (find it at www.positivityratio.com), and a wealth of scientifically supported strategies for cultivating more. Along the way, she shares insights into some of the most fascinating research of our time. A wonderful blend of compassionate narrative and compelling data, Positivity cracks the code of happiness and expresses it in terms anyone can understand and integrate in his or her own unique way.

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