Positivity is a skill.
What is positivity? Why is it so important? Positivity is a way of using your strengths, skills, talents, and abilities to face challenges. Looking at the positives of situations versus only looking at the problem itself, can create a sense of resiliency. Positivity can allow you to bounce back from a situation and/or can also help you to face the situation head-on rather than breaking down or feeling overwhelmed.
The Journal of Positive Psychology presents this idea that as you increase your strengths the negative symptoms you experience will decrease. You can decrease your risks by increasing your number of resources and/or bettering your resources. As you increase your positive values/beliefs the weaknesses you see within yourself (or others in some instances) will decrease. Lastly, as you increase your hope and positive outlooks, regret will counteractively decrease.
Benefits of Positivity
Consider what positive characteristics or traits you have. Do you consider these traits strengths? Examples of characteristics/traits include strong, rational, kind/nice, caring, cooperative, expressive, emotionally stable. As you focus on your strengths, you can create a sense of empowerment within yourself. As you gain empowerment and courage, this will in turn increase your positivity and most likely decrease negative symptoms you experience (e.g. fear, guilt, shame, etc.)
Look at your support system. Consider what resources you have in your toolbox. Are your resources reliable and valid, or do they need some fine-tuning? As you increase your resource list and have the tools you need, this will lead to decreasing risk factors. Furthermore, increasing your resources can help you have a sense of support no matter what negative events happen.
Increase Positive Values/Beliefs
Refer to your strengths. Where do the strengths stem from? Is it from the values you live by? Or perhaps there are positive beliefs you hold. An example may be “I value my alone time I get before the children wake up every morning,” or “I believe in the possibility of change.” Make a list of your values and your beliefs. When you can pinpoint your values and beliefs, this helps to minimise the weaknesses you see in both yourself and others.
Increase Hope & Positive Outlooks
When looking at a problem, also look at the positive possibilities. One tried and true outlook which withholds many situations includes the idea of, “a lesson can be learned from this”. Yes, it may feel TERRIBLE at the moment. However, in the long run, it is still a lesson learned and may have been the stepping stone you needed to get to where you are now.
Why Positivity is Important
- Integrating positivity allows for a better version of you. Happiness is a feeling which comes and goes. Happiness is a feeling state. However, positivity is something more “ingrained.” Even when you are unhappy, you can still show positivity towards the outcome, toward yourself, and/or towards others.
- Positivity increases life satisfaction and purpose. Satisfaction for life and finding purpose is often associated with happiness and/or positivity. Positivity is correlated with the ability to “be in the moment” versus looking at future worries or problems. It is also correlated with the ability to have a meaningful purpose.
- Positivity elicits a healthier lifestyle, stronger and more stable relationships, and even higher incomes. According to Fredrickson, positivity is directly correlated with each of these concepts, and more. Positivity has been linked to increasing happiness within marital and friend relationships, health, and job satisfaction. It makes sense that you may strive to be better if you are more positive.
Positivity is a skill people learn. Some may find they learned positivity at a young age. While others feel they must work harder at being positive. Wherever you fall on the scale, it’s perfectly OKAY! There are no “rights” or “wrongs.” Instead, focus on ways you can integrate this skill into your own life. Positivity can help you be more successful in various components of life – mental health, emotional health, physical health, within relationships, and satisfaction.