How to Increase Positivity in Your Life
Do you believe in the power of positive thought? Can you really increase positive emotions in your life?
I wouldn’t be writing about it if you couldn't. In fact, there wouldn’t be thousands of books on how to be more positive if there wasn’t a way. It’s no mystery that we all want to live a more positive life. But how do you make that happen?
First, know that Positivity can truly transform your life - if you’re open to it.
Psychologist Barbara Fredrickson has figured out a way to increase positivity in your life so you can go from surviving to thriving. Her research is based on her theory of broaden and build which illustrates the concept of how positive emotions have the power to expand our horizons not only for the present moment but for transforming our future. Her book, Positivity, is one of my go-to books for my clients so I wanted to share this must read book with you!
Fredrickson’s theory is made up of 2 core truths which is the cornerstone to making positive change in your life:
1. Broaden Your Mind
Positive emotions “open our hearts and our minds, making us more receptive and more creative.” This truth expands on how positive emotions affect our present moment, widening the range of thoughts and actions. When we are experiencing positive emotions, we’re more interested in what’s happening around us which builds our curiosity to explore new ways of thinking, feeling, and acting.
*Think back to the last time you experienced a positive emotion. What were you doing? What were you thinking? How did it feel? Whenever it was, were you able to expand your vision of possibilities? Did more ideas come to you? Were you more receptive to exploring something new or listening to someone else’s perspective?
When you practice positivity, you are literally creating space for more positivity.
Jot down those experiences so you know what lights you up. Think about those experiences. You’re reminding your brain of those emotions, reinforcing the effects they have on you.
I don’t live under a rock and am fully aware that negative experiences happen. It wouldn’t be life if it didn’t.
However, negative emotions have a time and place: they must serve a purpose or they no longer serve you.
When something terrible happens, it’s okay to feel negative emotions. In fact, it’s important to experience them and not push them aside. It’s when those emotions no longer serve us - when they stay longer than needed - that they become harmful. Next time you experience a negative emotion, notice it and call it out. Recognize what’s happening and label that emotion. Then, sit with it and watch what happens to your body. Imagine the emotion on a cloud and watch it drift away. If the emotion is staying with you for a while, notice it lingering and how it affects the rest of your day.
My hope for you is to notice what happens when you’re experiencing both positive and negative emotions and how they affect your mood, your day, the relationships around you, your work, your cat or dog. Notice when you do experience positive emotions how your mind expands and how your perspective shifts.
2. Build Your Best Future
I say all of this so that YOU can shape your present and your future. Fredrickson highlights the other half of her theory “build” which speaks to how positivity “transforms us for the better.” It essentially gives us the ability to discover and create new skills and knowledge that will help us in the future. When we’re curious, we naturally want to explore, which will open us up to learning new ways of doing things. Expanding our knowledge equips us to be better prepared for future experiences.
The more we experience positivity, the more mental resources we acquire - aka being more present, savoring each moment - along with psychological resources that help us see our lives as more purposeful.
Increasing positivity in your life takes time but it starts with recognizing it’s possible. Know that you are not a byproduct of your circumstances and experiences. Although they help shape our lives, we still have the power to choose which way we want to perceive the present moment. Positivity already lies within us; it all depends on how you want to view your situation.
Interested in learning more? Check out Fredrickson’s book, Positivity, to dive deeper. Looking to create a more positive mindset when reaching your health goals? Let’s chat! Schedule your complimentary 15- minute discovery call today!