A few months ago I clipped a little snippet from a magazine (Experience Life magazine, which we get as a part of our Lifetime Fitness gym membership) about "The Good-Life Ratio". Basically, it says that you have to have three positive experiences for every negative one in order to create a "thriving, flourishing life - as opposed to a negative, downward spiral."
What that makes me think about is Asher. He is such a fun boy, but he often asks me for things that I just can't (or won't) deliver on. For example, he'll ask me for a cookie first thing in the morning. Or he'll ask me if he can play Wii, right after we've just watched a movie. I swear he asks me things just to hear me say no sometimes. ...Because he's got to know that's the answer that's coming. So when I think about Asher and this 3:1 ratio, I have to force myself to find "good interactions" to have with Asher. When he's just sitting still watching TV, I go up behind him and hug him. When he's sitting at the table having a snack, I give him a kiss on the head and tell him I love him. It's not really hard to find ways to praise Asher, but I do have to remind myself to do it sometimes. Naomi and Isaiah, and of course sweet Sammy, just give me more opportunities that are easily spotted.
I'm going to work on this 3:1 ratio with Richard, too, I think. We don't often have "negative" interactions, but we do often have pretty neutral ones where neither of us really engages in any emotion whatsoever. So I'm going to work on putting a positive spin on those - even if it just means ending the conversation with a hug.
If you want to read more about this and even take a quiz to test your positivity, you can check out www.positivityratio.com/single.php. Or to hear Dr. Fredrickson herself talk about how positivity can help you, go to //j.mp/PosEmote