The Magic Ratio of Positive and Negative Moments

According to the Nobel Prize-winning scientist Daniel Kahneman, each day we
experience approximately 20,000 moments. A moment is defined as a few seconds in
which our brain records an experience. The quality of our days is determined by
how our brains recognize and categorize our moments—either as positive,
negative, or just neutral. Rarely do we remember neutral moments.

There is no question that the memories of our lives are recorded in terms of
positive and negative experiences. Now scientists propose that each day our
brains—i.e., our thoughts and emotions—keep track of our positive and negative
moments, and the resulting score contributes to our overall mood.

Our emotional tone or mood is defined by the number of positive versus negative
moments experienced during the course of a day. This is not really news to those
people who study emotional intelligence and how the brain works. Yet it has
major implications for how we can improve the quality of our lives.

The Magic Ratio

Over the past decade, scientists have explored the impact of
positive-to-negative interaction ratios in our work and personal life. They have found that this ratio can be used to predict—with remarkable accuracy—everything from workplace performance to divorce.

This work began with noted psychologist John Gottman’s exploration of
positive-to-negative ratios in marriages. Using a 5:1 ratio, which Gottman
dubbed “the magic ratio,” he and his colleagues predicted whether 700 newlywed couples would stay together or divorce by scoring their positive and negative interactions in one 15-minute conversation between each husband and wife. Ten years later, the follow-up revealed that they had predicted divorce with 94 percent accuracy.

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The full article contains the following concepts:

Defining moments during life
Defining moments during the day
The Magic Ratio
The Bucket and the Dipper
5 Strategies for improving your positive to negative ratio
Resources: How Full is Your Bucket by Tom Rath & Donald O. Clifton

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