You need 4 Positives to offset 1 Negative

Source: WSJ –  Self-Help For Skeptics.

  • Self-compassionate people are happier…(it) helps people overcome life’s little, and not-so-little stressors
  • You can train your brain to focus on the positive – even if you’re wired to see the glass as half empty
  • To enjoy life and feel good, people need roughly four positive emotions to counteract the effect of one negative emotion
  • Instead of “pushing through” a bad day, look for ways to actively improve it. Take a small break. Get an ice-cream cone. Invite a friend out to dinner.
  • Resist the urge to make your problems worse. “Ask yourself, How much of my distress is the real problem, and how much is stuff I am heaping on myself unnecessarily?”
  • Boost your daily ratio of positive-to-negative emotions…What do you enjoy doing? Seeing your best buddy, watching a funny movie, walking in the park? Make a list and do one a day.
  • Then list things you really don’t enjoy. Are there people who bring you down? Hobbies that no longer interest you? Errands you can delegate? Some of this stuff can be avoided.
  • If you don’t feel happy, fake it. You wouldn’t constantly burden a friend with your bad mood, so don’t burden yourself. Try holding a pencil horizontally in your mouth. “This activates the same muscles that create a smile, and our brain interprets this as happiness,”…

See full article @ WSJ – Self-Help For Skeptics Train Your Brain to Be Positive, and Feel Happier Every Day: It Only Sounds Corny

Image Source: carnetimaginaire via showslow


  1. Good advice..and sometimes just realize that you have to have a bad day because we all do, and instead of pushing through it, just ride the wave.


  2. My honey is always telling me to follow the “rule of 2”–before getting too wrapped around the axle about something, take a step back and assess how important/upsetting etc. the issue is going to be in 2 hrs., 2 days, or 2 weeks. If you 2 weeks, then ok, but anything less, maybe just taking a deep breath, walk away or shake it off. It doesn’t always work, obviously, but it has helped me in “not sweating the little stuff” so much….


  3. Thank you for this post. Given that attitude is so important to our success, this is a nice reminder that it’s under our control.


  4. The other day, someone surprised me by saying that when I open my mouth to sing, I look so calm and make it all sound so effortless, so my voice sails. They have no idea the nerves I suffer inside and the raging storm that I have to pretend isn’t there so my voice doesn’t capsize. My old singing teacher used to say that I might be slim, retiring, and nervous, but I must imagine I’m built like a galleon in full sail and look as if I mean every word that comes out of my mouth if I’m to give a convincing performance.

    People often say how calm and confident I look, but my family know different.


  5. Great article Dave to help the firecracker in me at times. Also like Donna’s “rule of 2” above…very simple.


  6. Great advice. I particularly like the suggestion to actively make a bad day better instead of just pushing through. Creating a moment of joy makes the other stuff more bearable.


  7. Fantastic – and what I like, appreciate, is that there are some really concrete approaches to consider, try, practice, etc. I especially like: “If you don’t feel happy, fake it. You wouldn’t constantly burden a friend with your bad mood, so don’t burden yourself…” I would exercise to the list somehow…amazes me still how that counteracts a bad day, hard as it is to get off the couch on those days. I’m hoping this post was not inspired out of you having a bad day…


  8. 4 Positives to offset 1 Negative thought :-/ Shoootttt Man! I need to work on it because my Negative thoughts are already very strong.


  9. leahmartinez says:

    Reblogged this on Out of the Shadow.


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