While the “positivity effect” has been studied and referenced for decades (since the 1970s), not everyone knows about this phenomenon. Put simply, the positivity effect is a virtuous cycle where positive thoughts and feelings promote more self-perception and improve self-esteem, leading to better performance and enjoyment. This enhanced quality of life reinforces those positive thoughts, allowing the cycle to continue spiraling upwards.
Many people consider the positivity effect’s virtuous cycle to be the perfect foil to the vicious cycle of depression — where many people feel drained and in-motivated, which causes them to not do things, which makes them feel even more depressed because they aren’t doing anything.
But, whether or not you are familiar with (or experienced) the vicious cycle of depression, you can absolutely benefit from the positivity effect — even if you do not see yourself as a “positive” or optimistic person right now. The best thing about positivity is that it can be cultivated. And, as we mentioned earlier, the virtuous cycle that comes with injecting more positivity into your life simply keeps getting better and better with time!
How to Cultivate a More Positive Outlook in Your Life
When it comes to cultivating positivity in your life, there are numerous strategies and techniques that you can use to begin that virtuous cycle of the positivity effect in your own life.
So, without further ado, let’s jump into just three of the simplest ways that you can jumpstart your own positivity and reap the benefits of the positivity effect.
Surround Yourself with Positivity
Whether you have noticed for yourself over the years or not, the simple truth is that the easiest way to inject more positivity into your life (and therefore positively influence your general outlook on the world around you) is to surround yourself with other positive people and experiences.
Constantly interacting with people who radiate positive energy and always look at a situation with the “glass half full” mindset can dramatically affect how you begin to see the world. This is because you start to notice the little joys in your day-to-day life and learn to look for the positives in even the most difficult situations as well.
One easy-to-implement way to inject more positivity into your life is simply taking some time each day to journal.
Now, journaling can mean anything you want it to — from simply recounting the day’s events or helping you to think through important decisions or plan for the future. But, if you are looking to cultivate a more positive approach to life (or you don’t know where to begin with journaling), there are two primary types of journaling you may want to focus on. These are reflection journaling and gratitude journaling.
Reflection journaling is a great option if you want to focus on an event or series of events that occurred in your day. If you are looking to cultivate positivity and build a more positive outlook, you will want to pick a positive event that happened during the day and write about that. This way, when you look back through your journal, you can see all of the amazing and joyful moments you have each day. Additionally, many people tend to remember things better when they have written them down — which is why we have to take so many notes in school — so writing down your positive events can actually help you to remember things more positively when you think back a few days, weeks, or even years!
You can also use reflection journaling as a tool to help you reframe your thoughts around a certain event or experience. To do this, you will essentially take an experience from your day that was either neutral or slightly negative and use that as your focus. But, rather than simply expressing how sad, annoying, or otherwise negative the experience was, try to find the positivity in it and highlight that in your journal.
The other type of journaling that may be a good option for you is called gratitude journaling. For this type of journal, rather than reflecting on the events of your day, you will pick one thing (or even a few things if you like) to highlight each day that you are grateful for. This can be a fantastic way to start each day on a positive note by recognizing one of the crucial positive things you already have in your life. Alternatively, it can be a great way to end each day with a little bit of gratitude before you go to bed if you’re not as much of a morning person.
Live in the Present
Another way that you can help create a positive space for yourself is to live in the moment — rather than the past or the future. Trying to truly experience what is going on in your life right now (instead of thinking about what you’ll be doing in an hour or a month) can help you view things more positively. This is because, more often than not, we take the present for granted. We are constantly thinking about how we can make our lives better in the future or how happy we’ll be when we get to that particular moment in our future that we have been dreaming about. This makes it incredibly hard to recognize the amazing things we already have going on in our lives, making it much harder to be positive.
For many of us, the key to cultivating positivity is to simply recognize all of those little moments that bring you joy and fulfillment in your daily life — whether it is coming home and putting on your favorite show, getting some delicious cooling ice cream from the shop down the street, or even getting into the shower and feeling the warm water on your skin.
Why Bother with the Positivity Effect?
If you’re still on the fence about whether or not doing the extra work to inject more positivity into your life is worth it, we get it.
Even though the strategies we listed above are relatively simple and easy to start, they do still take a dedicated effort to implement and stick with if you want to see those positivity effect results. Maybe you have a very busy schedule, and carving out time each day to journal isn’t an option for you. Whatever the reason, you likely want to know exactly why the positivity effect is worth your time and why you should try to cultivate positivity in your life.
Luckily, with decades of research, studies, and scientific observations, the positivity effect boasts numerous effects that people from all walks of life can benefit from. Some of these include:
- Improved immune health and a stronger immune system
- Lessened symptoms of depression
- Improved mood and increased motivation and energy levels
- Better weight control and eating habits
- Lower blood pressure and healthier blood sugar levels
- Improved heart health
- Improved quality of life — even in tough times
- Better coping mechanisms for stress and challenges
- Healthier and more fulfilling relationships
So, if you hope to gain some or all of the benefits listed above but aren’t sure how to start (or continue) your journey of injecting positivity into your daily life, know that you don’t have to do it alone. Please do not hesitate to reach out to one of our therapists at Love Heal Grow to schedule an appointment and get the personalized guidance you need to begin benefiting from the positivity effect in your life.