How to Increase Your Positivity

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smileTake a minute to do this exercise:

  • Look around the room and count how many red objects you see.
  • Do it now before reading further.
  • Now that you know how many red objects you saw, do you have any idea how many blue objects were there?

If you are like most of us, you didn't notice the blue objects.

So look around one more time and count the blue objects around you.

Quite amazing!

It's similar to when we buy a new car and suddenly we are more aware of a particular brand or color of another car. If our mind is focused in on one thing, we often will see more of it around us.

Think about this. Is your mind more focused on negative or positive emotions?

It's difficult to ignore the negative, it screams at us like the colored pen which our teachers used to correct our essays. It's more difficult to see the positive, it's the way most of us are and also the way we train ourselves.

As Sonja Lyubomirsky, in her book, The How of Happiness, shares that our happiness and well-being are determined by the following:

  • 50% Genetic set point. We are born with a set baseline or potential to which we tend to return, even after a major setback or triumph (death of a spouse, winning the lottery).
  • 10% Life circumstances: being poor or rich, healthy or unhealthy, beautiful or plain, married, or divorced, etc.
  • 40% Thought patterns, behavior, and intentions.

Scientific research shows that 40% of what determines our happiness has to do with our mindset, that is, what we think and do on a daily basis.

So this means that we can train ourselves to see more positivity around us.

Focus on what bring us:

  • Joy
  • Gratitude,
  • Serenity
  • Interest
  • Hope
  • Pride
  • Amusement
  • Inspiration
  • awe
  • Love

This reminds of the old story (adapted by B. Fredrickson):

One evening, an old Cherokee told his grandson about a battle that goes on inside all people.

He said:

– My son, the battle is between two “wolves” inside us all.

One is Negativity. It’s anger, sadness, stress, contempt, disgust, fear, embarrassment, guilt, shame and hate.

The other is Positivity. It’s joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, hope, pride, amusement, inspirations, awe, and above all, love.

The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather:

– Which wolf wins?

The old Cherokee simply replied:

– The one you feed.

In sum, everyday, every moment we have to decide what wolf to feed – negativity or positivity.


If you enjoyed this post, probably you would like to read The Three Good Things Exercise, too.

Written by Ana Melikian