3:1 = Happiness

I signed up to the June conference “Happiness and Its Causes” which explores the science and psychology of human happiness with the world’s leading thinkers.   Mostly I was keen to see the Dalai Lama in Brisbane, fascinated by some of the brain science, as well feeling like I am on my own quest for personal happiness.

I was watching one of the associated talks by Prof Barbara Fredrickson whose research says for every 1 heart wrenching emotion, we need 3 positive emotions to tip the scales back.

The aim is to get higher than 3, and talks about tools like mediation that can help self-generate positivity. The great thing is the ratio says that perfection is not possible (and that we must also have some bad to appreciate the good).  She also says that expression of negativity/upset can also be a way to move past things.

Her website lets you measure your own ratio – http://www.positivityratio.com/index.php
My ratio was not good, but with more awareness of this, I’m testing this 3:1 theory out in dealing with my own upsets.

It also came to mind as relevant to my work around urban design evaluation.  Noone can really agree on good and bad case studies of design, and perhaps this 3:1 could be a good ratio to use.

It every design, someone could argue a “flaw” or some element that could have been done better, but as long as the positivity outweighs, it would be in the “good” basket.

I guess like a pro-cons list this ratio could be used for anything.  I imagine this ratio also works with people/relationships, with those we most love and spend time with are those likely to have 3:1 or higher ratios in interests, values, memories, positive traits, communication etc.

3:1…It’s an interesting concept.  The willingness to work on or accept ratios then becomes a choice.


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