March 29, 2011

Your Positivity Ratio

People think angels fly because they have wings.
Angels fly because they take themselves lightly.  ANONYMOUS
Negativity can poison our lives, our relationships, and how we feel about ourselves. It can give us the sense of being overwhelmed and trapped, that we’re bringing down those we love, and failing to cope. Positivity can make a real difference. World-renowned Positive Psychologist Dr Barbara Fredrickson brings twenty years of research in her revolutionary science to help you defeat your negative emotions.
Take the positivity self-test now and calculate your Positivity Ratio for today. Then practice our New Toolkit  to Increase Positivity in Your Life. Find what works best for you. Try them out for 2 weeks and take a test again.  We promise that your Positivity Ratio will increase by 50%. Try it now! Share with us your results!
Your New Toolkit to Increase Positivity in Your Life by 50% in 2 weeks!

1. Be Open

The goal here is to experiment with mindful awareness while carrying out your day. Make your motto “be open”. Temporarily rid your mind of expectations and judgments. All too often these cloud your ability to be open. Instead, give yourself permission and time to experience the richness of the present moment. No matter what you encounter, no matter what happens, experiment with both awareness and acceptance. Attend to what’s happening without trying or wishing for change. There’s no need to view any of the thoughts, feelings, or sensations that come to mind as disruptions that must be suppressed. Instead, acknowledge them, appreciate them, and allow them to pass. Tell yourself, “It is what it is”, and simply observe. Mindful awareness casts a wider, more accepting stance toward the present moment than is typical. Watch what feelings emerge as you experiment with openness.

2. Create High-Quality Connections

Truly connecting with others can be a breath of fresh air. Any social interaction – whether with family, co-workers, or the person ahead of you in line at the post office – is a chance to create a high-quality connection. High-quality connections are life-giving. You recognize them instantly by several telltale signs: they foster mutual appreciation and encourage truly being or doing things together; they recharge your energy and your vitality; they bring real physiological changes.
According to Jane Dutton, cofounder of the Centre for Positive Organisational Scholarship at the University of Michigan’s Ross School of Business, there are four ways to build high-quality connections. The first is respectful engagement. Be present, attentive, and affirming. The second is to support what the other person is doing. Do what you can to help her succeed. The third is trust. Believe you can depend on this person to meet your expectations, and let it show. The fourth way is play. Allow time simply to mess around, with no particular outcomes in mind. Engaging with others in one or more of these ways transforms ordinary or corrosive interchanges with others into end-less sources of genuine positivity.

3. Cultivate Kindness

This exercise draws from research done by Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness. Give yourself the goal of performing five new acts of kindness of a single day. Aim for actions that really make a difference and come at some cost to you, such as donating blood, helping your neighbour with her yard work. Or figuring out a better way that your ailing father might manage his chronic pain. Be both creative and thoughtful. Notice the good feelings that come with increasing your kindness: the positive connection to the person you helped, the fitting sense of pride you get from making a contribution. Try it for a few months and see the difference it makes.

4. Dispute Negative Thinking

This exercise is adapted from the Penn Resilience Program, a depression-prevention effort rooted in cognitive-behavioral therapy that teaches non-negative thinking. For this , you’ll need a set of index cards. On each one, write one of your typical negative thoughts, such as “Why hasn’t she called by now? Doesn’t she care about me?”. What is important here is to write down negative thoughts that are realistic and truly yours. Capture your inner critic, that voice in your head that’s sceptical of you, of others, and of everything around you – the voice of ill will.
Once you have written out your set of usual suspects, shuffle the cards and pick one at random. Read it out loud. Then – as fast and as thoroughly as you can - dispute it! Do it out loud and with some conviction. What are the facts here? When you’re satisfied that you’ve shot down your menacing negativity with your rapid-fire facts, move on the next card. Repeat. As you work your way through your negativity deck, let your conviction grow as you become a seasoned disputer. Whenever you find gratuitous negativity lurking in your mind, externalize it by adding it to your deck of cards. Challenge yourself to meet it out in the open – out loud – with your rapid-fire facts.
Negative thoughts roll out automatically, against your best intentions. Your goal with this exercise is to become just as quick with disputation as you are with negative thoughts. Nip them in the bud with your fast facts, before they have a chance to blanket your day with doom and gloom.

5. Find Nearby Nature

When the weather is good, you need to be ready. Locate a dozen places you can get to in a matter of minutes that will connect you to green or blue, to trees, water, or sky. These have been shown to boost positivity. Perhaps a few natural spots bloom just steps from your door. If so, explore them thoroughly. Make them your own. Go to your library or local bookstore and pick up a guide to the walking trails and gardens in your area. Seek out more-natural sanctuaries: forests, rivers, meadows and oceans. Make these placed regular destinations, whether to exercise, socialize, or just be one with nature.

6. Learn and Apply Your Strengths

Once you’ve learned your strengths, the hard part follows: redesign your job and life so you can use them every day. Which aspects of your job or daily activities draw on your strengths? Which aspects squelch them? How might you devote more of your energy toward doing what you do best? What changes do you need to make to truly use your strengths each day?

7. Ritualize Gratitude

Being grateful simply requires that you notice the gifts that surround you. If you’re drawn to record your thoughts in writing, consider buying a handsome blank book to be your gratitude journal. In it, describe the things for which you’re grateful each day. Beyond simply listing good things in your life, one effective strategy is to describe why each good thing happened, in a few sentences. Or consider, for instance, reviving the time-honored ritual of saying grace before meals: either in your head or out loud, take a moment to offer your sincere thanks for the food that’s before you. You choose whom to thank, whether it be God, the earth, farmers, food handlers, chefs, or all of the above.

Or try “good ending “ritual. Good ending include an appreciative summary – an honest acknowledgment of the goodness that transpired prior to leave –taking. Take stock of what good has happened in that location. Thank the person or group, the place for supporting you or experiences that occurred there. You’d be surprised how many times each day you face endings. If departures become your cue to give thanks, this ritual will leave you afloat in gratitude each day.

8. Savor Positivity

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To experiment with savouring, you’ll need two things: first, a source of genuine love, joy, pride, or any other flavour of positivity in your life; second, a willingness to think differently about it. It doesn’t matter if your source of heartfelt positivity happened in the past, is happening now, or has not yet come to be. Practice with all three time frames. See which suits you best. The key is to think about the event in a way that stokes your positivity flames right now.

Allow yourself time to roll your mental images around in your mind. Look at them from all angles. Pump them up and then drink in their sweetness now. Now consider whether you can consolidate those memories further. Did you take any photos? Is so, perhaps you could organize them and select a few to frame or share. Do you love words? Then perhaps you could write a poem or story about the most radiant moment. Or simply strike up a conversation with someone who’d also appreciate these cherished moments.
Once you recognize how valuable good feelings are to your mindset and your future, savouring becomes easier. You’ll soon find that you can stretch and amplify your moments of heartfelt positivity simply by the way you attend to them.

9. Visualize Your Future

Imagine yourself ten years from now, after everything has gone as well as it possibly could. You have worked hard and succeeded at accomplishing all of the life goals you set for yourself. Imagine that you’ve reached your own best potential.

Try to write it every day for a week. Fill in all the details you can imagine. Describe your surroundings and your feelings.
After about a week, review what you’ve written. Draw out from your dreams a life mission. What purpose do you want to drive you – each and every day. Why do you get up in the morning, feed yourself, and bother to stay healthy? What is the meaning of your existence?
Take time to let your deepest hopes and dreams rise to the surface. Give those visions words. Get your ideas out on paper, then distil them to their essence by crafting a mission statement, short enough to memorize and serve as your touchstone. When you think you’ve got it right, put it to the eulogy test. If you were to carry out this mission, would your time on earth be well spent? Would others resonate with appreciating and admiration?

Now create a ten-year plan to help you meet your mission. Distill it to bullet points, so that your dreams can guide you through your decisions now.
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