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Friday, February 6, 2009

Want to add five years to your life?

Quit smoking. But what about those of us who don't smoke? Are we doomed to live life 'just as it is written?'

Nope. Got a good deal for you. Add ten years by being positive. (If you are already positive, please ignore this message.) Really, the glass of years is half-full.

I attended an interesting talk yesterday. (My second in two days... just like being in school again.) This one was given by Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a social psychologist who conducts research in emotions and positive psychology. She was promoting her new book, Positivity, which stresses the value of joy, gratitude, serenity, hope, compassion, humor, etc. and the resulting benefits. "We are like daylillies," she says. "Our minds open and close, not on daylight or darkness, but on positive and negative emotions."

Her research, and that of her colleagues and associates, shows that positive people live longer, fuller and happier lives... adding sometimes, ten more years. Now that makes sense. The collective research in this area seems to have come up with the ideal ratio, 3:1, of positive to negative thoughts.

Her book acknowledges that negative thoughts happen... they are an unavoidable part of life. But we can balance them, even in the worst of times, by understanding how to... accentuate the positive (there I go again... breaking into song). Understanting and accepting this theory is step-one on the road to improving your ratio.... or sustaining it in tough times. It is a balancing act... kind of like life itself. With so very much written and talked about being negative by its very nature, it's good to be reminded that there is balance, but it has to come from us.

If you like this thought, thumb through her book and see if it is 'worth a buy.' I think the examples she gives easily makes it worthwhile.

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