So, The Professor brought this book back from the library a couple of weeks ago, and as he was in the middle of something already, I took a crack at it. Although the title has the ring of one of those touchy-feely self-help kind of things, (something I have never seen The Professor's nose buried in, and thus was surprised when it was in his bag on return from the library), it's written by a psychologist (Dr. Barbara Fredrickson) distinguished in this field and is based on years of rigorous research. This is big with The Professor (being a professor and all), and whenever I mention a study or announce a finding someone's come up with, he always wants to know about the research it's based on. (Sadly, I am rarely able to tell him anything more conclusive then, "Well, they said...)
While it is written by a professor/researcher, it's a good read for those of us that have only the most minimal of understanding of both psychology and research methods. The crux of the book is that having positive emotions is important to flourish, not only emotionally, but physically as well. She actually has worked out through about 20 years of research that there is a ratio of positive to negative emotions that is important to reach - it's 3 to 1. She even has a test in the book (is it a bad thing that when I went to take the test, I sighed and announced that I was pretty sure it was going to go badly?) to figure out your ratio. Mine was 1.2 to 1. Hmmmm...seems I have a little bit of work to do.
She has a website where you can take the tests and even track your scores to see if you are getting more positive. It's a really interesting idea, and the book is full of useful suggestions that you can use in your everyday life. It's definitely given me some food for thought recently, even if I have staunchly refused to take the test again (I took it a second time and aced it - 3.4 to 1, but my answers may have been slightly affected by the fact that I was pretty bummed out by my first score and refused to see such numbers again...don't judge me).
It's kind of like starting a new diet - I'll start being more positive tomorrow; today I need to bask in a little negativity (or ice cream).