Barbara L. Fredrickson is Kenan Distinguished Professor of Psychology and principal investigator of the Positive Emotions and Psychophysiology Laboratory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is a leading scholar in the fields of social psychology, affective science, and positive psychology. In this impressive work, Fredrickson makes a strong case for the uplifting powers and benefits of positivity. She sees it as an emotion that feels good, that changes how your mind works, that transforms your future, that puts the breaks on negativity, that obeys a tipping point, and that can be amplified.
Luckily for human beings, positivity comes in ten forms (with a few qualities from our Alphabet of Spiritual Literacy): joy, gratitude, hope, love, inspiration, serenity, interest, amusement, awe and pride. Positivity is a major factor in cultivating resiliency — the ability to bounce back from life's challenges. It also resides in those who have a talent for overcoming obstacles like the lead character in Silver Linings Playbook.
Negativity is also a strong force in our lives, and it can drag us down if we let it. Fredrickson presents a 12-part toolkit to overcome this adversary which includes being open, creating high-quality connections, cultivating kindness, meditating mindfully, ritualizing gratitude, and visualizing your future. In a creative section of the book, the author suggests keeping 10 ever-growing portfolios of positive emotions that contain photographs, quotations, poems, and art that speak to your heart. She writes: "Carry only one with you to serve as your shield against the downward spirals of life, your toehold on the upward spirals that are possible for us all." We can nurture positivity, and it can transform us.