“We literally see more, our peripheral vision is expanded,” says Barbara Frederickson, a psychology professor at the University of North Carolina and author of the book Positivity, which is based on her research.
Negative emotions, conversely, can actually shrink our mental capacity and perceptions. According to U.S. News & World Report:
She also finds that people who increase their "daily diet" of positive emotions develop closer connections with others, their resilience and optimism strengthens, and they become less depressed and more satisfied with life, compared with people who do nothing to experience them more frequently."There are multiple ways to raise your ratio," she says, by increasing positive emotions, reducing negative emotions, or both.
On average, "we all need at least three positive emotions to lift us up for every negative emotion that drags us down," she says, a "positivity ratio" that arose from work she and a colleague published in 2005. People truly in the "flourishing zone" surpass that mark, although most of us clock in at 2 to 1 or even lower, she says.
There earning to meditate can boost positive emotions, as do a run in the woods, dancing, or reading a new cookbook, as examples.
Evidence suggests that there's a correlation between experiencing positive emotions in life and living longer, says Fredrickson, who encourages people to visit her free website and track their positivity ratio nightly for two weeks to see what their average is. Doing so might help you learn the sources of your positive emotions and the triggers for your negative ones.