Positivity Research: is there evidence to be positive?

positivity researchBarbara Fredrickson is a researcher into positive emotions. Her positivity research has been commended by Daniel Goleman, founder of Emotional Intelligence. One sunny afternoon in April, I interviewed Barbara Fredrickson.  Barbara  is a positivity expert. She is a professor and researcher at the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology lab at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her work looks into the science of positive emotions and positive psychology. Positive Psychology is a relatively new field, and looks into the positive side of human experience- what makes humans flourish? Barbara has been conducting research for several years into this question, and has uncovered some fascinating information. We caught up with Barbara at UNC, and she told us about her groundbreaking research, and how it has transformed her own life. Barbara has discovered, through the course of her work, the ‘positivity ratio’. This is a 3 to 1 tipping point- we need to have three positive emotions against one negative. Later, whilst on the plane home, I started to read the book. I was thoroughly impressed. The book was light, enjoyable, easy to read and interspersed with just about the right amount of science. I then began to understand – positivity is not a one time event. Rather, it involves cultivating positive feelings such as joy, serenity, peace, awe, interest, and love. Positivity is a process, a way of being. In her book, Barbara tells you exactly how to do that- how to reduce negative emotions and build positive ones. It is as much an experiential guide as a scientific overview of her research. Since I got back, I have covered my walls in images that evoke positive emotions in me, and started meditating everyday. I believe the only way to truly understand human ‘flourishing’, is to ultimately experience it.

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