This principle reminds us that, when we feel positive, we are more likely to act positively and over time create a life of greater well-being. Being able to experience positive emotions is a foundation to strengthen a sense of well-being, caring relationships, and increased energy and vitality.
Both negative and positive emotions create physiological, cognitive, and behavioral shifts. When people feel positive emotions, there is an “opening up” versus a “shutting down” effect. The “broadening” effect describes the cognitive, emotional, and physiological changes we experience when positive emotions are aroused.
When we feel positive emotions, we momentarily expand our attention and thinking, and we are more open to receive others and their ideas. Moreover, positivity opens us up to possibility, literally expanding our peripheral vision, and opening our veins. Instead of focusing on “me,” we appreciate others, and think more about “we.”
Positive emotions contribute to our ability to speedily bounce back from stress and can potentially transform us for the better.
Overtime, there is a “building” effect which is the accumulation of positivity.
3:1 Ratio – Positive to Negative
Research indicates there is a ratio of 3:1, which is the tipping point for building our positive emotion reserves. If we can, at minimum, think, talk, and behave three times positive to one time negative, then we are on the way to building emotional resiliency that will help us flourish instead of languish.
A key finding of this building effect is that it helps us recover from negativity, stress, or life-threatening situations more quickly. Called the “undo” effect, it means that, faced with adversity, those who have greater positivity reserves, or resiliency, will bounce back and move on. Physiologically, their heart rates recover far more quickly, which is much healthier in the short and long term.
Greater well-being and the Positive Principle.
The Positive Principle speaks to the need for large amounts of positive focus through deliberate choice of language and affirmative questions to discover the most uplifting stories that inspire possibility thinking and thriving futures. The higher the positive affect, the better able we are to deal with the unknown and be more accepting of change and create greater well-being in our daily lives.