Positivity Practices

Thursday, 10 December 2015
Published in Blog

Gratitude:  What went well today …

Every night, for 1 week, before you go to sleep, write down 3 things that went well that day and why they went well (and the writing down is important;  whether in a journal/on laptop/other).  These things don't have to be earth-shattering - may be as simple as "my partner cooked my favourite meal tonight";  or may be as important as "my sister had a baby today."  The writing of why the instances went well is important too and may be as simple as "I happened to be talking to my partner about dinner and my favourite food" or "my partner is thoughtful and looks out for me."

Writing about positive events will help maintain positive mood;  it will make you happier ... and you might even like doing this exercise!

Adapted from “Flourish,” by Martin E.P. Seligman

Practising Acts of Kindness

In our daily lives, we all perform acts of kindness for others.  These acts may be large of small;  the person for whom the act is performed may or may not be aware of the act.  Examples may include:

  • Donating blood
  • Giving a stranger change for the meter
  • Visiting a relative whom you haven’t seen in a while
  • Helping someone with errands or chores
  • Buying a homeless person a sandwich
  • Washing someone’s car

Over the next week perform 5 acts of kindness.  These acts do not need to be for the same person;  nor do they need to be any of the acts above.  Don’t perform any acts that may place you or others in danger.

Make a point to capture your acts of kindness – what, where, for whom – and how these made you feel.

Adapted from “The How of Happiness – A Practical Guide to Getting the Life You Want,” by Sonja Lyubomirsky

Increase Positivity

Positivity produces success in life as much as it reflects success in life.  Positivity works to broaden and build our lives.  Broadening refers to the opening of the mind with increased attention, creativity and decisiveness.  Building refers to the ability to craft a better life.


Increase Positivity

Decrease Negativity

§    Sincerity matters.  Slow down, notice your thoughts and emotions and be honest with who you are.

§    Find positive meaning by looking at the upside in any challenging situation.

§    Savour goodness – be mindful of the current situation and explore the positive elements of the past.  Share goodness with others.

§    Be grateful.

§    Seek opportunities to practise acts of kindness.

§    Follow your passions.  Be curious and playful.

§    Dream about your future.

§    Identify and apply your strengths.

§    Connect with others.

§    Connect with nature.

§    Open your heart and mind to new perspectives, ideas and people.

§     Learn to identify and dispute negative thoughts.

§     Stop ruminating;  be aware of your thoughts.  Seek healthy distractions.

§     Become more mindful by practising meditation, relaxation or mindfulness exercises.

§     Identify triggers that evoke negative thinking and feeling:

1.              Modify the situation

2.              Seek a different perspective on the situation

3.              Change its meaning

§     Find substitutes for gossip and sarcasm.

§     Be smarter with negative people (modify, seek different perspectives, change meaning).

Adapted from “Fresh Light on Positivity:  Another Cornerstone in Place", www.resiliencei.com, March 2010 and “Positivity”, by Barbara Fredrickson 

The Positivity Ratio

World-renowned researcher Dr Barbara Fredrickson discovered that experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio with negative ones leads people to a tipping point beyond which they naturally become more resilient to adversity and effortlessly achieve what they once could only imagine.  With positivity, you’ll learn to see new possibilities, bounce back from setbacks, connect with others, and become the best version of yourself.

There are 10 positive and 10 negative emotional groups.  Dr Fredrickson encourages us to build a portfolio of each of the 10 positive groups:

  1. Joy, pleasure and playfulness
  2. Gratitude, thankful and appreciative
  3. Serenity, peace and contentment
  4. Interest, curiosity and alert
  5. Hope, optimism and inventiveness
  6. Pride, confidence and self assured
  7. Amused, fun loving and laughter
  8. Inspiration, elevation and exuberance
  9. Awe, wonder and beauty
  10. Love, warmth and connection

Go to www.positivity.com if you would like to find out your ratio.

Adapted from “Positivity”, by Dr Barbara L. Fredrickson