Relationships are fascinating and they can be difficult.
I am reminded of this often as my family and I spend more time together in our home during the pandemic. We pass from being kind and joyful with each other to expressing frustration, anger and impatience. Most families are likely feeling the same.
In one of these ‘crisis moments’ I was reminded of the concept of the positivity ratio by Professor Barbara Fredrickson. A leader in the science of Positive Psychology, she found in her research that to feel happier and more fulfilled in our lives we need a 3-1 ratio of positive emotions over negative emotions.
What does that mean?
How can we adapt it to our relationships with those most important to us?
In our daily lives most of us have a ratio of two positive moments (feeling happiness, joy, serenity, flow, hope, gratitude, pride, love, inspiration or peace) to one negative one (stress, fear, resentment, guilt, shame, frustration or anger). Professor Fredrickson found through her years of research that it actually only takes a ratio of 3-1 to tip the scale of how we feel in our lives.
A small increment of positive emotions can make us feel happier and more fulfilled overall, both in our lives and in our relationships.
Here’s what this really means:
- Our relationships include the whole range of human emotions, both positive and negative. These emotions are part of us and of our relationships and we need to embrace them rather than deny that they exist.
2. Encompassing all of these emotions means that we are human beings and as such we are imperfect, as are the people who are close to us.
3. In order to feel happier, stronger and better in our lives and in our relationships we need to choose behaviours that bring us positive feelings.
Here are some things we can choose to do:
- Be appreciative of the good things around you
- Be curious
- Be kind
- Be authentic and sincere
- Smile and laugh more often
and, most importantly….
- Make time (even just a few minutes) to do things with your loved ones that you all enjoy.
This made me think of the story about a Cherokee grandfather telling his grandson about two wolves that battle inside of people. One is negativity (anger, sadness, stress, disgust, fear, embarrassment, guilt, shame and hate) and the other is positivity (joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspiration, awe, joy and love).
The grandson asks which wolf wins and the grandfather wisely tells him that the one that you cultivate the most is the one that wins.
Will you appreciate the good in your relationship?
Will you be kind to those around you?
Will you enjoy laughter and humour more often?
Will you make time to do things that everyone enjoys?
I invite you to invest in one of the most important things in our lives – our relationships with those we care the most about. Time is running out to register for the “Communicate with Impact” group coaching program. Make 2020 count in a positive way and invest in yourself today. Contact me to register.
Remember that small changes create big changes. You can choose to bring more positivity into your relationships and create that 3-1 ratio.