We hear all the time that it pays to be positive, but is that really true? How does positivity impact our lives, and what is the point of being so upbeat all the time? If positivity is so rewarding, does that mean there’s a consequence for sadness all the same?
Despite sounding like such a simple concept, positivity can be truly mystifying. How do we find happiness? Can I have positivity without happiness, and vice versa?
While it’d be impossible to condense all that we know about positive psychology (which yes, it has its own subset in the psychology world), we do have four fun facts or tidbits about positivity that may brighten your day.
- Positivity lengthens your life.
If you Google “Nun Study” you’ll find a very prolific scientific research project about aging and Alzheimer’s — that’s not the study we’re talking about here. This study is instead by Danner, Snowdon, and Friesen from the University of Kentucky and is strictly about Catholic nuns.
These researchers found that based on the nun’s own writings, those that expressed more positive sentiments lived longer lives. Look it up for more concrete and fascinating stats.
- Positivity boosts sales.
Many believe that the secret to happiness is success. That once you’ve finally found your place in life, happiness is just around the corner…and if that’s not true, then what is? Is it possible that this assumed standard is false?
According to Martin Seligman of the University of Pennsylvania, the opposite is actually true. This creates a bit of a chicken vs. egg scenario, but Seligman is sure that optimism comes before success. Based on an optimism test Seligman designed for MetLife, those who were positive based on the test results were almost always likely to outperform those who were negative.
- Positivity helps counteract stress effects.
Stress is a part of life and it’s one you’ll likely never fully be able to run away from. If you figure out how to live a life 100% free of stress, tell us your secret — we’d like to know.
Still, just because stress is a natural phenomena, it doesn’t mean it’s one we have to take lying down. There are a million different teas on the market meant to combat stress and its side effects, but what about something like positivity?
Many credible studies focus on how positivity helps to combat stress, but mostly how our own negativity leads to a majority of stress. While a catalyst may be the biggest source of stress, self-doubt and blame often contribute to our negativity more than the original problem.
- Positivity broadens your horizons.
From a young age, we learn to be positive. Most children are not born pessimists but are instead taught to be negative based on those around them and their life experiences. Children play, grow and learn while basking in that positivity. At this stage of development, their world is infinite.
This is how positivity can affect all of us every day. When we open our minds to possibilities and positivity, we see our worlds as they can be — not as they are.