People who express more positivity than others live longer. Would you believe up to ten years longer? Research supports that the way to pursue contentment or happiness is to pursue positivity each day. Moment by moment, you build the life you seek. Negativity and neutrality constrain your experience of the world. Whereas positivity draws you out to explore, to mix it up in unexpected ways. Each time you do you learn something.
It’s fair to say Americans are conflicted about positivity. Our Declaration of Independence guarantees “the pursuit of happiness” as one our core rights. Yet messages abound that our happiness is located everywhere but our core. It’s in the acquisition of goods, the quick fix of addiction or the high of achievement – to name a few. The struggle for us Westerners is to balance our entrenched “not enough” with “good enough.”
It is enticing for us modern urban dwellers to trivialize positivity. Our ego encourages achievement at all costs, so it can feel scary to let go. In her book, Positivity, Barbara Fredrickson Ph.D. suggests we take “mini vacations” each day – a walk through the park with the phone off, lunch with a friend, a dance class, or a leisurely fun read. Remember, it’s in the incremental broadening and building of positivity that we make the most gains. And every little bit matters.