Sometimes I think that life is a game of math. For the moment, I’ll blame it on the several self-help books and related research I’ve read over the years. Is this a positive or a negative thing? I don’t know. All I know is, back in high school, I was an average math student:)
When I first heard about the positivity ratio, I understood it as follows: one would need at least three positive events to cancel out the negative emotions brought by a single negative event. Imagine that you arrived at the office, and in the hallway, you said “Good morning” to your boss Doreen with a sincere smile. And what did Doreen do? She did not even look at your face. Doreen just walked past you. You had no idea why Doreen might have acted that way because she used to be a very friendly boss. But there goes your one negative event which might have even made you think, “Oh, what did I do now? I’m sure she did not like the report I sent to her yesterday. Am I going to be fired?”. Now you will need at least three positive emotions, triggered either by positive events or positive memories, to erase the one upsetting feeling Doreen’s act had caused you.
I researched the positivity ratio and found out that it’s actually called Losada ratio. Losada ratio is based on research to find out the golden positive to negative emotion/feedback ratio necessary for an employee to flourish in a corporate environment. At first, Losada ratio was well received, but then it received quite a bit of criticism, it seems.
Then, I also read about the Gottman ratio:) This research indicates that the magic positivity/negativity ratio between couples is 5 to 1! Again, imagine that you dressed up in your favorite evening dress, but before you headed out, your husband made a silly comment such as “Really, are you wearing this tonight?” with a negative tone of voice. According to Gottman ratio, you will now need at least five positive emotions, triggered either by positive events or positive memories, to erase the one upsetting feeling your husband had caused you.
So, yeah, there is a lot of research and numbers involved:) What can we do about it? I believe in the power of words. I think, whatever the situation or whoever the person in front of us is, we can act and talk with kindness at all times. Why shouldn’t we? Being kind is nice and is the opposite of upsetting people!
And I use the positivity ratio daily. If a negative event happens, I try to think of at least three happy memories or three people I love to change my mood to a positive tone. I apply the same technique if I’m in a negative mood for some reason because negative feelings arise from time to time, don’t they? There’s some kind of magic with this number three because experts also recommend writing at least three things you are grateful for every day. I’m practicing both of them, and they really have positive effects on my life. I hope you or someone you love can benefit from these, too!
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