“The brain is like Velcro for negative experiences, but Teflon for positive ones.

Dr. Rick Hanson

Isn’t it strange how easily we can brush aside one positive comment, and yet just one negative comment can repeat endlessly in our minds?

Isn’t it frustrating how one poor decision seems to make us feel that we are incapable, but a series of good decisions are almost ignored?

The reality is that our brains are keyed to focus on the negative, the danger, the unknown.  It is only through practice and conscious choice that we start seeing – and creating – more positives.

Countless studies have shown that we need three to six positives – words, experiences, thoughts – to balance out just ONE negative.

What does this mean?

In relationships, there is a direct correlation – first noted by Dr. John Gottman – between the long-term success of a relationship and the number of positive comments shared between the two people.  In a FIVE-TO-ONE ratio, be nice to your partner, say kind words, provide encouragement – and the relationship will strengthen.

Dr. Barbara Frederickson, in her ground-breaking research and 2009 book on happiness – Positivity –  found that a minimum of a THREE-TO-ONE ratio was essential for people to flourish.  high-functioning teams, relationships and marriages.

And a recent article by the Harvard Business Review outlined that high functioning teams had a nearly SIX-TO-ONE ratio of positive to negative comments in meetings.  And countless studies have proven that those who are happiest (and most positive) are more likely to succeed professionally.

Best of all, positivity is contagious!  Like so many attitudes, positivity is contagious.  If you are positive to others, they are more likely to mirror your energy and be positive back to you.  If you are kind, they are more likely to be kind.  Conversely, if you’re rude or negative, you’re likely to see some ugliness coming your way!

Studies have looked at the impact of negativity on our bodies.  Negativity – including anger, fear, sadness and stress – all impact our cardio-vascular system.  When people experience stress, they show higher blood sugar, an increased heart rate and a suppressed immune system.  Being positive is good for our bodies too!

Let’s look at all the benefits of authentic positivity:

  • Stronger relationships with spouses and partners
  • Better relationships with friends and children
  • More successful at work
  • More productive at work and home – with higher functioning teams

If you want any of this, start looking on the sunny side of life!