Research shows that when we can maintain a ratio of 3 (positive emotion) : 1 (negative emotion) in the work place we show up more able to make and maintain productive relationships, have more effective team interactions and more successful client interactions. Maintaining this ratio is challenging given the negative bias of negative emotions on the brain: we are biologically hard wired to pay more attention to negative emotion. Often stated: positive emotion is like “teflon” on the brain and negative emotion more like “velcro” on our brains.
So what to do?
These resources offer brilliant ways to practice increasing positive emotions and thinking to get to the tipping point each day at work of 3:1:
Barbara Fredrickson, Positivity, Three Rivers Press, 2009: This book, now available in paperback, is written by an award winning social scientist. Dr. Fredrickson not only explains her research but gives poignant examples from her own life of how she maintains positivity. The book also lists exercises and methods to practice daily to maintain the 3:1 ratio at work and in life. Also, check out Dr. Fredrickson’s website: www.positivityratio.com to test your positivity ratio each day.
Lynn Johnson, Enjoy LIfe: Healing with Happiness-available on his website and on Amazon. The subtitle of this book is: How to harness positive moods to raise your energy, effectiveness and joy. Dr Johnson gives really practical suggestions to maintain the positivity ratio as well as clear descriptions of relevant social science research.
Barbara Fredrickson and Marcel Losada, “Positive Affect and the Complex Dynamics of Human Flourishing”, American Psychologist, October 2005. For those interested in reading the research data.
Martin Seligman, Flourishing and Authentic Happiness. Dr. Seligman is considered the Father of Positive Psychology. He is a must read if you are interested in studying Positive Psychology and applying the findings to your own life. He posits that in order to flourish in life (and to increase positive emotion) we need: Positive relationships, Engagement or flow, Relationships/social connnections, Meaning or Purpose and Accomplishment in our lives.