by Eric Jenican, Founder, Endorphin Warrior
It pays to live life on the positive side. University of Michigan professor Barbara Frederickson, Ph.D., has been studying positive emotions for over 20 years. She says that humans flourish when they live with at least a 3 to 1 ratio of positive emotional experiences to negative emotional states. People who feel like they are “just getting by” report a ratio of 2 to 1. People who are depressed report a positivity ratio of 1 to 1, or lower.
What does this have to do with working out? I think every time we workout we are creating a positive emotional experience that “lifts us up.” In her book, Positivity, Frederickson says that when we experience a positive emotion our thinking expands. “We literally see more,” she says, “allowing us to face our problems with clear eyes, make creative connections and see more possible solutions for problems.” Who hasn’t emerged from a run or other workout completely “fired up” about an opportunity, or with new-found ideas and positive energy to face a personal issue, project or challenge?
Just the decision alone to run or workout is an act of self-love that creates a positive emotional state. Being deeply interested in the activity you are doing, or experiencing the state of flow, are other examples of positive emotional states that occur when we move our bodies and exert ourselves. We often emerge from a run or workout with feelings of joy, optimism and serenity. These are all positive emotional states that lift us up, expand our thinking and positively impact every other area of our lives.
Our choice to workout is more than a decision to be physically fit. When we run and move and exert ourselves, we infuse ourselves with positivity that grows like branches in all directions throughout every part of ourselves. Through our training we grow in infinitely-many ways and literally bring out the best in ourselves. How fortunate those of us are who are healthy enough to workout vigorously and experience the joy and benefits of exercise.
What do you think? How does exercise positively impact your life? Please share below. We’d love to hear your thoughts and about your experience of exercise.