Relationships

Harness the Power of YOU~ Part III

The Power of Positive Interaction

John Gottman‘s pioneering research found that marriages are much more likely to succeed when the couple experiences a 5 to 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions.  We have learned from my last post that to experience “happiness” people generally need a 3 to 1 ratio of positive to negative interactions.

My client, John, was all for becoming more positive and living more intentionally. He was also uncertain how to live more mindfully.   He also needed to brainstorm to come up with a few concrete steps on how to change his life.

Using Examples of Positive Interactions from our session, John decided to try to interact with others with more smiles, kind words, encouragement, gratitude, meaningful conversation, honest dialogue and sincere positive interactions. To create this environment he needed to be more mindful of his everyday life and less worried about what might happen tomorrow or what had happened in the past.

Mindful Living in Practice

Master Cheng Yen There is nothing we cannot ac...

Master Cheng Yen There is nothing we cannot achieve if we are willing to think, cultivate and take mindful action (Photo credit: symphony of love)

John decided to start his new practices at home.  For instance, he decided to turn off the TV and talk with his wife about the good things that happened during his day.  At first, this type of conversation was hard but over time John and his wife became less weary of each other and enjoyed their time spent together in the evenings.

Think about how it would make you feel, and the people around you feel, if you shared the positive aspects of your life rather than complaining about what is wrong!   The more you practice sharing the positive the more it will become ingrained in your life.

Next, John is going to implement some new habits at work.  He is going to make it a point to smile at his co-workers more often.  He is going to try to compliment three people every day. The ideas are infinite. The key is to intentionally cultivate more awareness and hence more positive interactions.

At times, all this positive interaction is almost more than John can handle.  He sometimes falters into his old pessimistic ways.  He now knows that if he is feeling upset with others it is time to look at his positive to negative interaction ratio.  He then starts living mindfully and engages in positive interaction practices once again.

Positive Interactions Can’t Fix Everything

Please know that this doesn’t mean we should never have negative interactions. Barbara Fredrickson’s research from the University of Michigan shows if a work group in a company experiences a positive to negative interaction ratio of 13 to 1 the work group will be less effective.  Negative interactions are necessary so long as they  occur much less frequently than positive interactions…Like in a ratio of 3 to 1!

Positive interactions are essential to a healthy marriage, family, and work experience.   Mindful Living take effort!  How are you going to make a conscious effort to be more positive?

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