Research from Barbara Frederickson, cited in the Positive Psychology at Work blog, says:
“When we experience emotions in a 3-to-1 ratio of positive to negative, we cross a psychological threshold and function at our very best. The trick is knowing how to cultivate this positive outlook and how to call upon it on a regular basis. Tools developed and sharpened by the science of positive psychology allow us to self-generate positivity whenever we choose-even during these trying times. Indeed, positive emotions are at the heart of what allows people to bounce back from hardship and become stronger than ever.”In the last two years have you regularly experienced positive emotions on a 3-to-1 ratio in the workplace? Has anyone at work given you a reason to feel positive? Sure, there are many good and valid reasons for employees at any level to experience negative emotions in this economic climate – fear for their job, stress at assuming laid-off colleagues’ workloads, and many more. But it is within our power – every employee in every workforce – to create positive emotions.
It’s as easy as saying “thank you.” It’s as simple as saying to a peer, colleague or subordinate, “I notice you and your work. I appreciate what you do. Your efforts are valuable to me, to the team, to the company if we are to succeed.”
Positivity at Work
But the reality is, by and large, we don’t. Other research cited in the same blog notes that happiness is contagious – “people who are happy or become happy boost the chances that someone they know will become happy…by up to 34%.”
Here’s the catch, though. “Surprisingly, happiness had no such effect at work. The researchers speculated that work relationships may have different dynamics.”
If choosing positivity for ourselves is within our power (and I believe it is – we choose our attitude every day), why are we neglecting positivity in the workplace? Is it because we work in a highly competitive culture? Is it because we believe we can only thrive in the workplace at the expense of others?
These are important questions to answer. The research shows: “Happy people tend to be better off in a myriad of ways, being more creative, productive and healthier.” Who would argue we don’t want that outcome? Who would suggest the simple act of recognition is too much to offer if it could result in such benefits?
What’s your level of positivity in the workplace? Do you feed into the positivity or detract from it?