Thursday 7 February 2013

5:1 positive to negative interactions

As a postscript to yesterday's blog I wanted to share more on one other action I've taken and that's to:
  • keep away from things that bring my energy down.
As I've written before the things that bring my energy down even include watching NCIS so they're very unique to me! I can't tell you how much better I feel since I've cut out the murder, shooting and dead bodies! Watching them that is - yes even Midsummer murder was causing a problem!

Last week I realised that reading what was a wonderfully inspiring set of blogs was having a negative impact on me. It's a series of blogs on mental health and included many stories of what mental health means to those writing the blog from first hand experience and from those who support personally or professionally. It's been wonderful to watch the ripples of impact wash out from the blog and I know many many people will have been positively impacted for ever as a result of what been said and shared. I also started to read Life as a widower's blog which again has been truly inspiring. What I have found personally however is I've been getting drawn into the energy - perhaps I've just been taking rapport and empathy too literally. The words were no longer providing me with inspiration and so I decided to take a break from them.

I wondered why that might be and remembered John Gottman (link is to him talking on the subject) who discovered that in relationships we need five times more positive interactions than negative interactions. I wondered if that was also true more generally and was why I needed a break from the blogs. Perhaps my ratio was misaligned! Perhaps rushing every day to read the blogs before I'd even got my 5 positive messages in wasn't helpful. Perhaps because I've been too busy and stressed my ratio needed to be a little higher - perhaps 10:1 (I think this is close to the maximum limit Gottman suggests is helpful).

I'm back to dipping into the blogs but no matter how high my positive interactions I'm not sure I'll ever get back to NCIS however great the banter between characters.

I'll write another blog on what I'm doing to bring in the positivity but for now will leave you with a question - what's your current ratio, and if it's not helping you day to day what can you do to get back to a ratio that supports your daily wellbeing?

Alison Smith
The Purchasing Coach
Inspiring collaboration in Purchasing

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