Arriving at Chapel Hill, NC was an interesting experience. Chapel Hill is a college town and a large percentage of its residents are either directly related to the University of North Carolina or indirectly provide services to the university and its visitors. Like many college towns there is something very peaceful, young, and positive about it. Dr. Barbara Fredrickson is the director of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology (PEP) lab at the university’s psychology department. We first met about a year ago and since then had the chance to chat a few times about possible joint projects. However, it was only today that I had the chance to speak with her more in-depth about her research work. Her book, Positivity, describes various research studies on positive emotions that were conducted in her lab over the past few years. The bottom-line findings are astounding and a must-know to anyone who seeks to improve their psychological well-being. And while the math involved is complicated (chaos theory, non linear dynamic systems), the end results are very simple: there is a tipping point – a ratio of 3 to 1 of positive to negative emotions. Once this threshold is met, people go into an “upward spiral” and truly flourish.
I was fortunate the have the opportunity to spend an hour discussing the concepts of Positivity and how they relate to other ideas like strength, resiliency, and being fuly present.
Here is a short video with a few minutes from our conversation: