Turn Your Bad Day Around

“So you had a bad day. Don’t let it spiral you into a mindset of doom and gloom. Get back in your power. Remember you are who you choose to be.”-Karen Salmansohn

Bad days happen. However, if you start to label too many days disagreeable this can cause a lack of productivity. At Ignite Your Potential we often recite the phrase “don’t let a bad 10 minutes ruin your entire day.” Letting a negative moment define a whole day is not only unfair, it can lead to missed opportunities, and distract from your day’s purpose. Continue reading to discover strategies that can improve your rough days. 

Accept Reality

Accepting the reality of your situation doesn’t mean you’re stuck or a failure. The sooner you acknowledge the problem the faster you can find a solution. Denying or pushing away the negative feelings you are experiencing will only delay the process. 

Consider Repeating Out Loud:

  • I acknowledge this is my situation
  • Even though I have a problem, I am okay
  • I have the power to change my situation 

Change Your Point of View

After you’ve accepted your current situation, attempt to transform your viewpoint into one that benefits you. For example, if you’ve been taking punch after punch all day. You may begin with a negative outlook at think something like, “This is happening to me because I’m not good enough.” Change your perspective by reframing your internal dialogue, “This can make me stronger, more resilient, and prepared to turn challenges into future success.” Small changes, like a reframe, will make a substantial difference in your ability to conquer bad days.

Consider:

  • Asking yourself: is this productive thinking? Does it serve me?
  • Visualize other perspectives
  • Focus on what is in your power
  • Use productive and positive language when you’re talking to yourself

Take a Break 

Attempting to work while your mind is overflowing with negative thoughts is ineffective and will reduce productivity. A study conducted by the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign concluded that brief diversions from a task can dramatically improve one’s ability to focus on that task for prolonged periods. Time off is necessary to regroup to get your mind back on track.

Consider:

  • Talking to a friend or family member
  • Meditating 
  • Moving your body, go for a walk, stretch, exercise

Socialize

There are many studies that show the emotional support you give and get during connections with friends and family enhances psychological well-being. When you are feeling down, reach out to the people who love and want to support you. 

Consider:

  • Visiting your neighborhood coffee shop
  • Making plans with friends or family
  • Volunteering

Are bad days seem to be occurring more often? Ignite Your Potential Center coaches will provide you with emotional support and skills that will help you achieve your goals. We are the #1 coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise. All of the award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session, see if we are the right fit for you.

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Find a Hobby You Love (Becuase It’s Good for Your Life and Career)

Having a hobby that you enjoy—whether that’s crocheting mittens for your sister’s new baby, curling up with a book to get lost in an unknown world, or moving your hips in a Zumba class—has all sorts of benefits, from lower levels of stress to an increased sense of belonging.

Hobbies make a serious impact on your quality of life. But they also improve your work performance. How? When you’re engaged and fulfilled in your life outside of work (when you’re pursuing meaningful hobbies) that happiness spills over. That happiness has the ability to make you more focused and enthusiastic when you’re on the job.

Having a hobby that you love can do good things for your life and your job. But what if you don’t have a hobby you enjoy? That doesn’t mean you can’t find one. It doesn’t matter if you’re 20 or 80 years old—it’s not too late to find something you love and let it spur you on. Our Ignite Your Potential career coaches have curated a few strategies to find a hobby you love.

1. Make What You Already Love into a Hobby

Take a look at how you enjoy spending your time and figure out how this can become a hobby. Have you watched Kevin Hart’s stand-up special on Netflix…four times? Try taking an improv class. Is your favorite part of the day playing with your dog? Try volunteering with a rescue organization. 

2. Reclaim Your Childhood Interests 

When you were a kid, what did you like to do? Did you spend hours finger-painting masterpieces to hang on the fridge? If so, you might want to try taking an art class. Or maybe you spent the entire year looking forward to Field Day at school—in which case, you could join an adult softball team or flag football league. When you were a kid, you had hobbies—revisiting them as an adult is an effortless way to rekindle that love.

3. Try New Things

The truth is finding a hobby can be hit or miss. And that is OK! If you want to find something you love, you need to put yourself out there—and be willing to accept not everything you try is going to be a win. Think of anything you might find interesting—whether that’s skateboarding, painting, or weight lifting—and take a class. If you like it, great! If not, cross it off the list, and move on to the next one.

It might take a few attempts to find a hobby that you love, but the key is to not give up. Our award-winning coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Centers offer a complimentary 25-minute phone session to help you find a hobby that will change your life and your career. We are the #1 career coaches in San Francisco and Los Angeles, let us show you how we earned that praise.

Top 3 Reasons Why YOU Need a Coach

coach

Having a Coach has become a common practice for the goal-oriented business professional. Just like a professional athlete has a coach to reach their highest potential, in today’s world a coach can help you achieve your most coveted life and career goals. Here are the top reasons you need a coach now:

  1. You Want the Edge “Knowing Yourself” Will Give You – One of Aristotle’s famous quotes is: “Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.” Our coaches at Ignite Your Potential will help inventory your talents and strengths. You can then build a strategic action plan that leverages the best of yourself to meet your most challenging goals. Without this understanding, you could be running in circles on a path to nowhere.
  2. Help with Your Career Pivot – Changing careers to a path that best fits YOU is on the rise. According to an NBC News article, more than 35% of business professionals have made pivots into different careers. When making this type of move, the first questions are: “What do I really want to do?” and “How will I know what fits me best?” Having an Ignite Your Potential coach will help guide you based on innovative assessments and the unique “Finding Fit” process we use at our centers to help clients move all the way through to complete the pivot into a new right fit role.
  3. Building Winning Self-Narratives – Having an Ignite Your Potential coach means reframing the stories you tell… about yourself. Suddenly, you see your offerings in a new light. You understand all the ways your strengths and talents can be used to meet your goals. The process builds you up, you feel stronger, happier, and ready to keep becoming who you’re meant to be.

If you’re at all looking to build upon the above within yourself, a coach can help. Contact one of our amazing coaches today.

How Ignite Your Potential Life Coaching Can Cause Your Next Big Shift

It takes a village to raise a child.

This African proverb rings true: you sometimes need greater insight to deal with the joys and pitfalls of life. However, its use isn’t limited to parenthood, it can also be applied to other aspects of life. It can take a village to move yourself to the next level, to reach the goals you’ve been striving toward.

Think of a life coach as an essential part of that village.

life coaching

An Objective Viewpoint

Blind spots are a normal part of being human. In other words, we all have areas of our lives and ourselves that we are overlooking. In addition, we get stuck, get in our own way, and don’t know where to turn. A life coach can offer a unique set of perspectives and with this new awareness we can get out of a rut. A life coach helps us look at the big picture and reframe the way we see the scene.

Are old patterns getting between you and a career or life change? Have certain habits caused your life to stall? A life coach begins to understand your goals, helps articulate them, and then sets action plans to achieve your targets. The clarity and process that comes from working with a life coach is fundamental, if you want to make a positive shift in your personal and professional life.

Discovering Yourself

Many people live their life without articulating their strengths and talents. Life coaching utilizes emotional and social intelligence methods to help you observe yourself and your natural abilities. As life coaches, we support you to stop second guessing yourself and be the person you’re meant to be.

Asking the Tough Questions

To unleash creativity, sometimes we need an outside perspective, someone to ask questions we have not considered. A life coach will ask insightful questions that make you think and help you gain insight. These are the cornerstone of how change is created. They lay the groundwork for you to reach your greatest potential.

Support

life coaching

At times you may experience imposture syndrome. While completely normal, this negative mindset can actually contribute to missteps in life. A life coach sets your mind in a healthy direction by telling the truth: that you are capable of reaching your goals, you are good enough. They will show evidence of this and help boost your self confidence by giving you the power to reverse the negative statements that may keep you from taking the next best step in your life.

Planning

Do you have big dreams but don’t know how to execute them? Achieving goals can be more difficult if we don’t have clear intentions. What steps are you going to take? How long will it take you to make this shift?

It’s hard to go on a road trip without a map. How do you get to your destination without a route to follow? A life coach can help develop a clear, concise vision and then a strategic action plan to reach your goals.

Conclusion

While it’s tempting to try to power through life on your own, sometimes it’s necessary to bring people into your inner circle. An Ignite Your Potential life coach is an unbiased, highly trained professional who can highlight where you may be holding yourself back, with understanding and compassion. By asking the right questions, they help you see your strengths and talents.  Our coaches also help develop your self-confidence by guiding you to reframe your thoughts, and develop a clear, effective, strategic plan for the future. It’s time to lean on the village and grab onto your next big shift.

How to Know When to Hire a Life Coach

Let’s face it, life is a beautiful joyride with bumps, with twists, the occasional tree in the road, and plenty of right and wrong turns. The perils and pitfalls of life affect everyone differently and we all have our own unique experience or perception of life. That’s the magic of it! The fact that there are all these potentially different perspectives, means there are different ways of looking at the same experience. Knowing this can help you gain new, and more productive ways of looking at what’s going on in your world. Some people, called a life coach, even devote their lives to helping others improve their outlook by offering unique, constructive perspectives that can inspire and uplift when life gets bumpy.

The Ignite Your Potential Center, is a team of expert life coaches with locations in Los Angeles and San Francisco.  We have put together this guide that will help as you as you consider hiring a life coach. We are an organization of people who are dedicated to helping others live a life of happiness and success. Read below to find out if you should consider hiring a life coach.

You’ve Realized Your Decisions, Behavior, or Patterns are Not Supporting Your Goals, and Maybe, Are Even Blocking Opportunitieslife coach

Recognizing that you may be getting in your own way, can be the first step in taking action. Sometimes, we need a coach to help us see all aspects of what’s really going on and to strategize new ways to move forward. Bad habits can be hard to break. An SF life coach or LA life coach can help you become fully committed to your goals. They can also collaborate to develop a strong action plan, and can create accountability, so you can stay on a clear pathway to achieve those goals.

You Lack Self Esteem or Confidence

We’ve all been there. Sometimes the voices in our heads aren’t friendly and they perpetuate a fear that does it’s darndest to impair all the wonderful things we want to achieve for ourselves. It’s hard to say where this fear or imposture syndrome comes from, whether it’s society, our parents, or simply our amygdala. Wherever we attribute the roots of these messages – they are not our friends. Anyone of the coaches at the Ignite Your Potential Center will tell you that often: Fear is a Liar. And even if these fears are deeply ingrained in our conscience, it is possible to start reversing these messages and improve your self-acceptance. Our life coaches have the philosophy, the psychology, and the skills to help you begin to do that.

You Have a Vision But it Isn’t Specific Enough or It’s Overwhelming

A life coach can help you discover your vision, define it, or help you hone in on specific action-oriented goals so you don’t feel overwhelmed. A lot of times, our visions come in the form of “I want to help people” or “I want a more fulfilling career.” While these are both great “North Stars,” you need a chunked down set of action steps to move toward these big-picture goals.

In Forbes, Ashley Stahl recalls her experience when she first hired a coach. “When I hired my first coach, I had some general ideas on what I wanted—to start a business, to help people, to be more authentic in my career— but I wasn’t clear on the specifics, nor did I know how to get there. I was done with the corporate world and clueless on how to make an empowered and strategic exit. Thanks to my life coach, I discovered my calling and built a multi 6-figure career coaching company in two years time.”

life coachSomething is Missing, You’re Unfulfilled, Or You Lack Passion

This is the biggest one. We get so wrapped up in our daily lives that before long we’re wondering why all of the sudden we seem unsatisfied, unfulfilled, or burnt-out.

There’s build up over time and soon you’re in a state that you just can’t pull yourself out of. This is the perfect time to hire a SF life coach or a LA life coach. They can help you discover what led you to start feeling this way, help you find different solutions, and get you back on track working toward a happier and more fulfilling life. A life coach can do this by helping you look within before actively making outward shifts. When you’re ready to put positive new changes in place, they will stick.

If any of these points sound like what you’ve been experiencing, then hiring a life coach might be your next right move. They are knowledgeable professionals who have experience helping others in these areas and more. Ignite Your Potential is a premier team of life coaches in the Los Angeles and San Francisco Bay area that can help you get back on the road, driving full-speed ahead, to your dream destination. If you’re ready to take that step, fill out the contact form below and we’ll reach out to you.

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How do you create your wonderful life?

I often see people compromising before they even get started.

It’s terribly sad to me because it’s a self-imposed trap that comes about because we believe we can’t have what it is we really want.

Lean in: this is an illusion. The people you see who are successful…they keep their eye on what it is they desire. They tune into themselves. They ask this important question and they take the answer very seriously.

What do you desire? Keep asking yourself this question, like a mantra: What Do I Desire? What Do I Want For Myself If I Can Have Anything? And when you begin to hear the answer from the deepest part of yourself. Only then, are you ready to move forward. To create the life of your dreams.

Here’s Alan Watts guiding us through this process:

So I always ask the question: What would you like to do if money were no object? How would you really enjoy spending your life? Well it’s so amazing as the result of our kind of educational system, crowds of students say ‘Well, we’d like to be painters, we’d like to be poets, we’d like to be writers’ But as everybody knows you can’t earn any money that way! Another person says ‘Well I’d like to live an out-of-door’s life and ride horses.’ I said ‘You wanna teach in a riding school?’

Let’s go through with it. What do you want to do? When we finally got down to something which the individual says he really wants to do I will say to him ‘You do that! And forget the money!’ Because if you say that getting the money is the most important thing you will spend your life completely wasting your time! You’ll be doing things you don’t like doing in order to go on living – that is to go on doing things you don’t like doing! Which is stupid! Better to have a short life that is full of which you like doing then a long life spent in a miserable way. And after all, if you do really like what you are doing – it doesn’t really matter what it is – you can eventually become a master of it. It’s the only way of becoming the master of something, to be really with it. And then you will be able to get a good fee for whatever it is. So don’t worry too much, somebody is interested in everything. Anything you can be interested in, you’ll find others who are.

But it’s absolutely stupid to spend your time doing things you don’t like in order to go on spending things you don’t like, doing things you don’t like and to teach our children to follow the same track. See, what we are doing is we are bringing up children and educating to live the same sort of lifes we are living. In order they may justify themselves and find satisfaction in life by bringing up their children to bring up their children to do the same thing. So it’s all retch and no vomit – it never gets there! And so therefore it’s so important to consider this question:

What do I desire?

How Do You Tell Your Story of Success?

I help people clarify and meet their goals but I also help people feel stronger and more confident about who they are.  Today I’m sharing a “behind the scenes” strategy I use to help my clients remember who they really are and feel more self-assured.

There are many reasons why a person might not feel as successful as they deserve to feel.

  • Maybe you’re in a job that is no longer challenging, is not aligned with your personality, or is not treating you with the respect you warrant.
  • Maybe you’ve suffered a loss such as a death of a cherished loved one, the end of a long relationship, a personal illness.
  • Maybe you’re juggling career, children, and household and it’s all just too much.

Whatever the reason, we all have times when we feel a lack of personal power. And while there is a time to get in touch with your emotional state…drawing the emotions out even…sometimes the name of the game is to transform this state.

So let me ask you…if you were to think back, way back….

How can you tell your story through the lens of success?

Whether your life has been one of challenge or ease, with a favorable attitude, search for a narrative in your life where you were successful. No matter what happened in your past, dramatic or mundane, there is something to admire.

Sit down now with a piece of paper, use a voice recording app, or just get ready to daydream and begin tell a story of a time when you made it happen.

Remember, the thing about storytelling is not how worthy the story is, it’s about the feeling the story conjures. You have already been successful…whether it was getting back in shape after putting on the college 20, landing an impossible job, mastering a sport, or getting around in a foreign country using an unfamiliar tongue. Tell this story of success and you will begin to remember, you will begin to feel successful again.

My Story

When I was very young I had fantasies of traveling. I often felt suffocated amid strip mall after strip mall in the suburbs and longed for something more fertile. I talked about it with my family but often got the message that girls didn’t go off traveling on their own.

When I became old enough I packed my bags and hit the road. I travelled with friends, and sometimes alone, for about five years. I saw most of the U.S. this way, living in my car, working at restaurants, saving up enough to keep going.

In my mind’s eye I can remember so many experiences from then…I see myself driving a late night on a curvy Appalachian mountain road while a gigantic low orange harvest moon met me as though we had a deep clandestine plan. As though it had been waiting for me all along.

Private and rich moments such as this meant so much to me, but at the same time I didn’t classify my experience of traveling across the U.S. as brave. I didn’t see myself as successful.

By the time I went back home and decided to “do something with my life” I felt rather insecure. What did I have to offer? What skills did I have? What had I even been doing all those years? My perspective was that I had to start from scratch and build something of my life. What I was lacking was confidence and the ability to tell my story of success.

I had had a dream, albeit a daydream, but nonetheless, I had a desire to travel across the country and I made that happen. That is what success is all about.

I eventually found my way past that sense of insecurity and moved on to the next phase of my life. Still, when I look back now, I realize I was quite bold and brave. During those years, I had moments of fear and doubt, and I put one foot in front of the other and kept moving forward. I learned a lot about people, about thinking outside the box, about living with ambiguity, creative problem solving, and following my gut. Now, taking the time to tell this story, I feel rather grounded and strong. And that’s really the point here.

If you’re still uncertain where to begin your story of success, here are a few questions that might get you recognizing and telling it:

Was there a time when you felt stuck and you did something to change that?

Was there a time when you were very scared but you moved forward anyway?

What would you consider one of the biggest challenges of your life? What happened?

Can you think of an obstacle you overcame?

Can you think of something you didn’t know but then learned?

Can you think of a time when you had a profound realization? What came of that?

Has something ever happened in your life that changed you? What was it? How were you changed?

Please inspire us and tell us your story of success in the comments.

How Are You Living?

If you know a smart chiropractor, naturopathic doctor, fitness trainer, nutritionist, or pilates expert, if they are helping you lose weight or get healthier, they will ask you to do a food journal. Many of you may have tried this as a way to increase your awareness about what you are putting into your body. In fact, several studies have shown that people who keep a food diary are more likely to be successful in losing weight and keeping it off.

But have you ever considered using a similar method to increase your awareness about yourself in general? In other words, instead of a food journal…what about a How Are You Living Journal?

Sometimes it’s hard to observe ourselves…like fish observing water. But there are ways we can gather this information.

Play the Researcher

Researchers are trained not to judge their findings: whatever they uncover, they observe it, sit with it, document it, come to know it. When you do this for yourself, the information can help you achieve your goals.

Sometimes observation alone can produce change. Sometimes it’s the beginning of a process. Whatever the case, I have consistently witnessed that…awareness rules.

Record the Moment

In the directions below, I detail how to start, and keep, your Living Journal.

1. Program an alert into your phone so that several times a day you are reminded to ask yourself these questions.
2. Jot down small notes about what you see. It’s best to do this in a given moment, rather than noting some things at the end of your day. What we think is going on with us and what is actually going on with us can be slightly different. We all have blind spots.
3. If you’re doing this alone, remember to look it over each week – just writing it down is not enough to bring it into your awareness.
When we’re working together, I ask my clients to bring the journal to our check-in.
4. Consider these questions. There’s no need to answer them all, but let them jog your thoughts to record what you’re feeling in the moment…

Mind
What is running through your mind?
What is going on with your internal dialog?
What’s the emotional tone? Mellow? Kind? Grumpy? Silly?
How might you describe the atmosphere of your head space?

Body
What is your body language saying in this moment?
Are you breathing deeply or shallowly?
Do you feel tired?
Are you hydrated enough?
How would you classify what you’ve eaten today? Vibrant? Fine? Call the health department?
Take a moment to notice your body. Any tension areas? How do you feel?

Connection
Are you alone or with others?
Would you say you’re present or off in the world of thoughts?
What’s happening around you? What do you notice?

Actions
Any particular behaviors you’d like to note? Going to the gym? Moving your body in some way? Are you meditating? Are you in a bar with your buddies? Anything self-care related going on?

Assess How You Are Living

All of these questions give you information about the states-of-mind you hang out in, how you may be dragging yourself down or draining yourself of energy, how you are supporting yourself, how certain foods may be affecting you. It gives a snap shot of how you are really living.

After a week, take a look at your journal and take note: Has anything surprised you? What patterns have you noticed? What do you make of it all?

If we were in session, we would go over your journal together…

Let It Be

A friend sent this to me, it’s Paul McCartney talking about an meaningful, pivotal experience, from a book called “The Right Words at the Right Time.”

I was going through a really difficult time around the autumn of 1968. It was late in the Beatles’ career and we had begun making a new album, a follow-up to the white album. As a group we were starting to have problems. I think I was sensing that the Beatles were breaking up, so I was staying up too late at night, drinking, doing drugs, clubbing, the way a lot of people were at the time. I was really living hard and playing hard.

The other guys were all living out in the country with their partners, but I was still a bachelor in London with my own house in St. John’s Wood. And that was kind of at the back of my mind also, that maybe it was about time I found someone, because it was before I got together with Linda.

So, I was exhausted! Some nights I’d go to bed and my head would just flop on the pillow; and when I’d wake up I’d have difficulty pulling it off, thinking, “Good job I woke up just then or I might have suffocated.”

Then one night, somewhere between deep sleep and insomnia, I had the most comforting dream about my mother, who had died when I was only fourteen. She had been a nurse, my mum, and very hardworking, because she wanted the best for us. We weren’t a well off family, we didn’t have a car, we just about had a television, so both of my parents went out to work, and mum contributed a good half to the family income. At night when she came home, she would cook, so we didn’t have a lot of time with each other. But she was just a very comforting presence in my life. And when she died, one of the difficulties I had, as the years went by, was that I couldn’t recall her face so easily. That’s how it is for everyone, I think. As each day goes by, you just can’t bring their faces into your mind; you have to use photographs and reminders like that.

So in this dream twelve years later, my mother appeared, and there was her face, completely clear, particularly her eyes; and she said to me very gently, very reassuringly, “Let it be.”

It was lovely. I woke up with a great feeling. It was really like she had visited me at this very difficult point in my life and gave me this message: be gentle, don’t fight things, just try and go with the flow and it will all work out.

So, being a musician, I went right over to the piano and started writing a song: “When I find myself in times of trouble, Mother Mary comes to me”….Mary was my mother’s name…”Speaking words of wisdom, let it be. There will be an answer, let it be.” It didn’t take long. I wrote the main body of it in one go, then the subsequent verses developed from there: “When all the broken-hearted people living in the world agree, there will be an answer, let it be.”

I thought it was special, so I played it to the guys and ’round a lot of people, and later it also became the title of the album, because it had so much value to me, and because it just seemed definitive, those three little syllables. Plus, when something happens like that, as if by magic, I think it has a resonance that other people notice too.

Not very long after the dream, I got together with Linda, which was the saving of me. And it was if my mum had sent her, you could almost say. The song is also one of the first things Linda and I ever did together musically. We went over to Abbey Road studios one day, where the recording sessions were in place. I lived nearby and often used to just drop in when I knew an engineer would be there and do little bits on my own. And I just thought, “Oh, it would be good to try harmony on this.” But I had a high harmony in mind, too high for me, and although Linda wasn’t a professional singer, I’d heard her sing around the house and knew she could hold a note and sing that high. So she tried it, and it worked and it stayed on the record. You can hear it to this day.

These days, the song has become almost like a hymn. We sang it at Linda’s memorial service. And after September 11th, the radio played it a lot, which made it the obvious choice for me to sing when I did the benefit concert in New York City. Even before September 11th, people used to lean out of cars and trucks and say, “Yo, Paul, let it be.”

So those words are really very special to me, because not only did my mum come to me in a dream and reassure me with them at a very difficult time in my life-and sure enough, things did get better after that-but also, in putting them into a song and recording it with the Beatles, it became a reassuring, healing statement for other people too.

You Have Within You the Fuel to Thrive and Flourish

Dr. Barbara Fredrickson studies the science of happiness. Negative emotions, she says, are necessary for us to flourish, and positive emotions are by nature subtle and fleeting; the secret is not to deny their transience but to find ways to increase their quantity. Rather than trying to eliminate negativity, she recommends we balance negative feelings with positive ones. Apparently, if we fall below a certain ratio of positive to negative feelings, we risk getting pulled into downward spirals, behavior becomes rigid and predictable, and we begin to feel burdened and lifeless.

This is how she defined positive emotions: If we look at a whole range of positive emotions—from amusement, to awe, to interest, to gratitude, to inspiration—what they all have in common is that they are reactions to current circumstances. They aren’t a permanent state; they’re feelings that come and go. That’s true of all emotions, but positive emotions tend to be more fleeting.

They are also “desirable” states. They not only feel good, but we want to feel them. Some people might say it feels good to be angry, that anger can sometimes be useful or productive, but people don’t want to feel angry. Positive emotions have a kind of alluring glitter dust on them. You want to rearrange your day to get more of those sparkling moments.

Benefits of positive emotions: When people increase their daily diets of positive emotions, they find more meaning and purpose in life. They also find that they receive more social support—or perhaps they just notice it more, because they’re more attuned to the give-and-take between people. They report fewer aches and pains, headaches, and other physical symptoms. They show mindful awareness of the present moment and increased positive relations with others. They feel more effective at what they do. They’re better able to savor the good things in life and can see more possible solutions to problems. And they sleep better.

In general the research shows that only 20 percent of Americans are flourishing. The rest are either languishing or just getting by. Maybe they remember a time in their lives when things were coming together easily; there wasn’t a lot of self-concern, self-scrutiny, or self-loathing because they were focused outward and contributing to the world. But now they’re just doing the minimum necessary to get by. This “just getting by” mode is not depression or mental illness. It’s merely people living lives of quiet despair. According to this research, upwards of 60 percent of the adult population feel like they’re going through the motions.

Dr Fredrickson goes on to describe a ratio that was discovered where 3 positive events to 1 negative event is the tipping point to balancing out negative emotions and that ideally the healthiest thing would be to aim above that—four to one, five to one positive to negative emotions.

So what are some ways to increase positivity? One way is to be aware of the present moment, because, again, most moments are positive. We miss opportunities to experience the positive now by thinking too much about the past or worrying about the future. It’s about being open to what is.

Another way is to pay attention to human kindness—not only what others have done for you, which helps us unlock feelings of gratitude, but also what you can do for other people, how you can make somebody’s day. We found that even just paying attention to when you are kind—not necessarily increasing how often you’re kind, but just paying attention to the times when you are—can make you more positive.

Another simple technique is going outside in good weather. People who spend even thirty minutes outside when the weather is good show an improvement in their mood. You can also work to rearrange your life around your strengths. Ask yourself: Am I really doing what I do best? Being employed at a job that uses your skills is a great source of enduring positive emotions.

Paraphrased and quoted from an article written by Angela Winter in The Sun magazine (May 09) which features Dr. Fredrickson’s research on positive emotions. Dr. Fredrickson is the Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Principal Investigator of the Positive Emotions Lab at the University of North Carolina. Her theory of how positive emotions have functioned in human evolution was recognized with the 2000 American Psychological Association’s Templeton Prize in Positive Psychology.
Read more about her work here.