The Positive Dog: A Story About the Power of Positivity
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Takeaways from Jon Gordon, author of The Positive Dog
The 10 Costs of Negativity
1. Ninety percent of doctor visits are stress related, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
2. A study found that negative employees can scare off every customer they speak with—for good (Rath, 2004).
3. At work, too many negative interactions compared to positive interactions can decrease the productivity of a team, according to Barbara Fredrickson’s research at the University of Michigan.
4. Negativity affects the morale, performance, and productivity of our teams.
5. One negative person can create a miserable office environment for everyone else.
6. Robert Cross’s research at the University of Virginia demonstrates that 90 percent of anxiety at work is created by 5 percent of one’s network—the people who sap energy.
7. Negative emotions are associated with decreased life span and longevity.
8. Negative emotions increase the risk of heart attack and stroke.
9. Negativity is associated with greater stress, less energy, and more pain.
10. Negative people have fewer friends.
7 Days to be More Positive
Day 1: Take a Thank-You Walk
It’s simple, it’s powerful, and it’s a great way to start feeding the positive dog. How does it work? You simply take a walk . . . outside, in a mall, at your office, on a treadmill, or anywhere else you can think of, and think about all the things, big and small, that you are grateful for. The research shows you can’t be stressed and thankful at the same time so when you combine gratitude with physical exercise, you give yourself a double boost of positive energy. You flood your brain and body with positive emotions and natural antidepressants that uplift you rather than the stress hormones that drain your energy and slowly kill you. If you love the thank-you walk, feel free to do it every day.
Day 2: More Smiles and Laughter
They say that children laugh about 400 times a day, while adults laugh only about 25 times. Perhaps we need to be more like children and smile and laugh more. Research shows that smiling produces more serotonin in your brain and laughter reduces stress, increases your immune system, and causes your body to release “feel good” endorphins. Today I want to encourage you to find enough humor in your life to make you laugh and smile for at least 10 minutes. Here are some ideas to smile and laugh more today: Watch funny videos on YouTube. Watch one of your favorite funny movies. Get a joke book and share the funniest jokes with a friend. Watch a funny television show.
Day 3: Celebrate your Success of the Day
According to sports psychologist Jim Fannin, the last 30 minutes of every waking day are recorded and replayed that night by our subconscious minds 15 to 17 times. This replay occurs five times more often than any other thought at any other time. Thus, it’s important to go to bed thinking positive thoughts. If you go to bed thinking and feeling like a champion, you’ll wake up thinking and feeling like a champion—optimistic and ready to win. Today, before you go to bed celebrate your success of the day. Identify the one great thing about your day—the one great conversation, accomplishment, or win that you are most proud of. Or identify the one person you helped most today or the one thing that made you smile. Focus on your success, and you’ll look forward to creating more success tomorrow.
Day 4: Spend Time with Positive People.
Research shows that the old adage that money doesn’t buy happiness is true. However, being rich in friends certainly does make a difference. According to a survey from the National Opinion Research Center, the more friends you have the happier you are. Other studies show that close relationships promote health, support longevity, and enhance positivity. So, today, make time to connect with the positive people in your life and take the time to strengthen your relationships with them. Get together with an old friend, call a loved one, or take action to make a new friend. Positive people make us feel more positive so spend time with them today.
Day 5: Share the Gift of Kindness
Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, has been researching different techniques and strategies to increase happiness. Not surprisingly, one of the successful happiness boosters is performing acts of kindness, such as volunteering for a charity, opening the door for someone, feeding the homeless, or taking your elderly neighbor grocery shopping. Lyubomirsky has found that by engaging in five acts of kindness in a single day (the impact is more powerful if performed in one day rather than spreading five acts over five days) participants in her studies experience a measurable boost in happiness. Make today a day of kindness and engage in five acts of kindness. Some acts you will be able to schedule and plan, while other acts can be more spontaneous. The key is to perform five acts in one day. For ideas visit: www.giftofkindness.com.
Day 6: Take Out your Telescope
I often talk about a telescope when encouraging people to create a big-picture vision for their future and dream about the life they want to create. The telescope represents our dream for the future and, according to Barbara Frederickson, research shows this is a simple way to boost positivity. Today dream about the life you want to create. Write down your big-picture vision. What does it look like? What are you doing? What do you hope to accomplish? What difference do you want to make? What is your mission and purpose? Spend some time visualizing the future you want to create. Then write down your vision, dreams, and goals.
Day 7: Be a Coach
Coaches bring out the best in others. The best coaches mentor, encourage, praise, inspire, and lead with optimism and positivity. Today, feed others and yourself with positivity by being a coach. Instead of complaining about what others are doing wrong, start focusing on what they are doing right. Praise them, encourage them, love them, recognize them, and inspire them to be their best. You’ll help others feel great and you’ll feel great too.