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Day 111: The Manual

“The greatest discovery of my generation is that a human being can alter his life by altering his attitudes.” -William James

Here I am over 100 days into this positivity quest and I find myself still reaching for the book that started it all, Barbara Fredrickson’s book Positivity. Whenever the weight of the world ignites my negativity bias, her book is the manual that helps me to re-think my thinking and make a few critical internal adjustments towards positivity. Having read the book cover to cover several times, now I just let the book tell me what I need to know.

As a mother for over 20 years, I have long been proof that a mother is only as well as her least well child. These days, it seems that all of my children are struggling with emotional and physical issues that feel pivotal to their development and how they live their days. From sports disciplinary meetings to sleepless nights with the reality of mortality looming, strained muscles, new boyfriends and breakups, my kids are on a run lately. It is a challenge to keep my balance.

Opening up Barbara’s book tonight I was reminded of the six vital facts about this positivity quest that I work to make real for myself and my kids everyday. Choosing a positive outlook feels good. The statement is so basic and obvious that it seems hardly worth mentioning, but this simple motivation for changing how you think is often overlooked. I am a walking testimonial to the fact that any daily spiritual practice changes your mind. Applying myself to the positivity quest hasn’t just changed the contents of my mind, but it has actually broadened my mind’s sight and ability to see the possibilities and solutions around me.

My abilities in positivity have helped me to witness and control my negative bias. It isn’t gone, but the more mindful I am about my ability to be present, the earlier I can stop the negative self talk that some days seems to be sitting in the wings ready to pounce. The more I practice it, the more that the work itself transforms my relationships to the people and work that I am devoted to. The positivity ratio that Fredrickson documents is true, when you are able to create three or more positive emotional events to one negative, you start to thrive. The nature of life itself changes.

The biggest takeaway is that simple practices done vigilantly can increase your positivity and change your future. How you think about your life impacts the resources that you have available to meet life’s challenges and to love people. I am grateful everyday that I came across this book and have dedicated this year to instilling its truth in my days.