It used to be that psychology research focused on what was wrong with people and people with mental illness diagnosis. Starting in the 1950’s and really blossoming in the last 20 years is the field of Positive Psychology. Why should you care? Well the research coming out of this field can help you live longer, have better health, enjoy your relationships and live an authentic life. Here’s the deal. Each day you have lots of interaction with others -from your intimate relationships to the clerk at the grocery store. Each day has thousands of “moments”. And for the most part, you choose whether you are saying positive things or negative things in these encounters.
Research shows that in a marriage, a ratio of 5 to 1 (5 positive statements for each 1 negative statement) makes for a wonderful marriage -when you get to a ratio of 1 to 1 divorce is probably on its way. Now don’t get me wrong, Positive Psychology is not saying you have to walk around with a grin on your face all day spouting syrupy nonsense to everyone. No, you have to listen to your feelings and sometimes your feelings just plain suck. BUT, you can choose how you react to others. Here’s a few practical ways to increase the amount of positive encounters in your life.
First, become a gentle observer of yourself. Watch how many times you say something negative or criticize someone. Keep a mental (or written) tally for a couple of days. After that practice saying something kind or supportive….something positive to each person you encounter. Not only will they feel good, you will to…and it spreads! As each person you touch in a positive way then acts positive to another 2 people -the good feelings spread like amazing ripples.
Give it a try -and post a note here to let us know what happens!