Negativity can sabotage weight loss and healthy eating efforts faster than just about anything else. Negative self talk, your pessimistic inner critic, self-sabotaging expectations and negative emotions will bring anyone down—fast. If you are someone who uses food to cope or to comfort, you know that negativity can lead you right to your chocolate stash.
A lot is written about avoiding negativity, but what about understanding and nurturing positivity?
Barbara Fredrickson, PhD, is a Professor of Psychology and principal investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She investigates incredible stuff like how even fleeting positive emotions can contribute to a life of flourishing. Her book, Positivity, is the result of many years of research. She has some very compelling things to say about the hows and whys of tapping into our own unique sources of positive emotions.
Fredrickson says there is great value in looking at your positivity ratio, the ratio of positive to negative emotions experienced. She has discovered that experiencing positive emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio with negative ones leads people to a “tipping point beyond which they naturally become more resilient to adversity and effortlessly achieve what they once could only imagine.”
Fredrickson recommends tracking your positivity ratio over time and working to emphasize the activities that bring more positivity into your life.