Positivity worksBy Carmella Fitzpatrick

We all have heard how being positive is important for success in life. Yet when we see so many get caught up in the humdrum of life, one can’t help but wonder if it is so.

Positivity certainly uplifts and inspires as has been proven by literary works such as “Pollyanna,” a best-selling 1913 novel by Eleanor H. Porter that is now considered a classic of children’s literature. The title character’s name has been used sometimes as a term for someone with an optimistic outlook.

And then we have the multitalented classic of Shirley Temple who with the guidance of her mother starred in films that were created to uplift in a positive way. Even President Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “It is a splendid thing that for just fifteen cents an American can go to a movie and look at the smiling face of a baby and forget his troubles.”

But does positivity really work? To answer that question, one must then do studies of which there are numerous ones that do prove positivity makes one successful, healthy and happy and gives a longer life span. All one really needs to do is look it up on the internet or the library.

Some studies most referred to and cited in the field are the ones done by Barbara Fredrickson, who is a positive psychology researcher at the University of North Carolina. She published research about positive thinking and its impact on your skills. It was found that when you are experiencing positive emotions, it broadens your sense of possibilities and options in your life, as opposed to negativity, which limits by refusing to see them.

Fredrickson also did research on meditation to see if it displayed more positive emotions, which it did. The people who meditated daily displayed having more purpose in life, were mindful of their actions, and as a result gave more social support. And it even decreased symptoms of illness.

Then there is a controlled study on “The health benefits of writing about intensely positive experiences” done by Chad Burton and Laura King. This was of 90 students that were split into two groups. Their mood levels were recorded before, after, and during the three days they wrote about positive experiences. Three months later their, mood levels were recorded again to find they had experienced fewer illnesses and had better mood levels than the ones who did not write about positivity. So it even has a lasting effect!

Many religions and ancient philosophies have professed that being positive is a way to a fulfilling life force.

As I am most familiar with the bible. I have often used its verses to remind and uplift me. Here are three that I have used. First, there’s Proverbs 17:22, which reads, “A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.” Then it says in 1 Thessalonians 5:16 to “Rejoice always.” And we are cautioned in Ephesians 4:29 to “Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.”

I would recommend then that you find phrases that help you to be inspired and positive. whether it is philosophy, religion, or a statement that you create that feels close to your heart.

There are plenty of motivational coaches out there that can charge you for their assistance in learning how to be more positive, or you can do it yourself.

What does all this mean? it means we need to remember to allow ourselves to have more fun and to realize that studies have confirmed that being positive is beneficial and that religion and philosophies have some valid points after all. We need to stop once in awhile and just breathe. Look out the window, relax, whatever that could be for you. Maybe sitting or working in the garden is relaxing or playing a piano or guitar. Either way, take time to actually enjoy your life.

It also means making a determination to be more positive. I suggest taking baby steps with this so as to not blow yourself away. Choose to smile at everyone for a day, and then on another day choose to not complain for 24 hours. If you don’t succeed sometimes, don’t worry about it. Just forgive yourself and keep at it. I would imagine even a little progress has benefits you may not be aware of yet. Studies have shown it leads to a longer, healthier life to be enjoyed.

We have been under the delusion that we must obtain success in the form of financial security, trophies, or rewards before we can be happy. That simply is not true. Happiness is a choice, and being positive is one of the steps to achieving that reality. So go ahead be positive. Be the first in your group. Rise above the naysayers, and prove it by being positively happy, and successful. You deserve it. Really.

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