positives over negative

5 Positives to 1 Negative

This is a terrific article by neurogym.com I could’nt explain it better myself, so am sharing the whole article with you.

When doctors and therapists teach patients to turn negative thoughts and worries into positive affirmations, the communication process improves and the patient regains self-control and confidence. But there’s a problem: the brain barely responds to our positive words and thoughts. They’re not a threat to our survival, so the brain doesn’t need to respond as rapidly as it does to negative thoughts and words.

To overcome this neural bias for negativity, we must repetitiously and consciously generate as many positive thoughts as we can. Barbara Fredrickson, one of the founders of Positive Psychology, discovered that we need to generate at least three positive thoughts and feelings for each expression of negativity. If you express fewer than three positives then, personal and business relationships are likely to fail. This finding correlates with Marcial Losada’s research with corporate teams and John Gottman’s research with marital couples.

Fredrickson, Losada, and Gottman realized that if you want your business and your personal relationships to really flourish, you will need to generate at least five positive messages for each negative utterance you make. Thoughts or comments like “I’m disappointed” or “That’s not what I had hoped for” count as expressions of negativity, as does a facial frown or a sideways nod of the head.

It doesn’t even matter if your positive thoughts are irrational; they’ll still enhance your sense of happiness, well-being, and life satisfaction. In fact, positive thinking can help anyone build a better and more optimistic attitude toward life.

Positive words and thoughts propel the motivational centres of the brain into action and they help us build resilience when we are faced with life’s problems.  According to Sonja Lyubomirsky, one of the world’s leading researchers on happiness, if you want to develop lifelong satisfaction, you should regularly engage in positive thinking about yourself, share your happiest events with others, and savour every positive experience in your life.

My advice: choose your words wisely and speak them slowly  –  this will allow you to interrupt the brain’s propensity to be negative, and as recent research has shown, the mere repetition of positive words like love, peace, and compassion will turn on specific genes that lower your physical and emotional stress.

You will feel better, live longer and build deeper and more trusting relationships with others – at home and at work. And as Fredrickson and Losada point out, when you generate a minimum of five positive thoughts to each negative one, you’ll experience “an optimal range of human functioning.”


Posted in Choices, Empowering and tagged , , .

Anne McKeown