Tuesday, January 26, 2010

5 to 1, 20 to 1 Happiness Rules

So some of you know that I occasionally contract for a government funded program to teach at risk families (couples and individuals who are pregnant or have children who meet certain demographic requirements) and couples healthy relationship and communication skills. My personal preferred position is to coach (working one on one with the couples or individuals who need a little extra help or a different perspective on the training, curriculum or skills), but I teach also.

This last weekend I was teaching and when we were discussing the 5 to 1 and 20 to 1 statistics they really got into a very thought provoking conversation that I've continued to think about yesterday and today. The 5 to 1 and 20 to 1 comes from a lot of research and studies that basically say that couples who experience roughly 20 or more positives in their relationships for everyone one negative have the healthiest and happiest relationships and that would the 'goal' for trying to obtain a happy relationship. That it takes five positives just to neutralize one negative, but not to then add to the positive side of the relationship. So couples who experience 5 positives to 1 negative through couples who experience 19 postives for one negative- while they don't have bad or unhappy, unhealthy relationships- they also don't have the ideal happy relationships (of course with those being closer to 5 to 1 having less so then those being closer to 19 to one and remember these are averages based on studies- couples like people vary). Anything below 5 to one, and of course once you get to where negatives are higher numbers then positives, is normally a very unhappy, unhealthy relationship- severity depending.

So the idea is that if you say one mean thing to your husband it will take five nice things to just make up for the one mean thing, then another 15 nice things to completely offset it and put you back in the happy, healthy relationship stage. Now that may seem really hard, but it's not honestly- my experience is being nice to each other is habit as much as being mean can be. So people when they first hear that are like that's impossible, but it's rather easy if you are using healthy relationship and communication skills because then one- just because you are disagreeing doesn't mean you are having a fight and most days you never do or say anything mean, most days you are happy, being polite and nice (thank you dear, please baby, what a great job you did, ect...) so if you are in those habits of appreciating each other the negatives are over set and brought back to positive territory almost indefinitely.

But I digress. I was thinking about the discussion and the point one gentleman brought up was maybe that was why it was so hard to have a positive outlook on life, to have a positive feel good day. So many people in our culture are not very nice or polite to each other, then we turn on the television and there's all this violence and even when there's not violence there's still discourse. Most tv shows are not feel good or positive shows, most are about drama and heartache and intrigue. So if the 20 to 1 and 5 to 1 also applies to our experiences in general just like it applies to our experiences in our relationships you are faced with quite a conundrum. It's much harder to find 20 positive things when you go out and about to offset each time the store clerk is impatient with your question, or the cashier rolls her eyes when you ask to put something back, or the the person in the line in front of you give you or your kid a nasty look. It's difficult to find 20 positive things to offset every time you get a nasty pm from someone on a site, or someone's rude because they don't like your point of view. As a culture we are much quicker to cut people down then we are to tell them when we appreciate them. But if we need 20 positives to one negative then just that fact in our culture really deters that happening.

Anyways, I've always done so to an extent but I'm going to start activily trying to make sure we watch more postive shows when we do watch tv (although we don't watch it much as is, but when we do we tend to zoom in on things like Bones or House, which while interesting- is rather negative overall) And try to think about other ways to incorperate as much positive experiences into our lives as we can and limit the negative.

I just thought others might like the food for thought :)

About Me

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I'm a semi crunchy stay at home wife and mama of two boys. Extend Breastfeed, Cloth diaper, Cosleep, Babywear, Homeschool, Homebirth. My sons and I have some serious health concerns (allergies, growth hormone, kidney, lung, spine, etc...). We didn't realize they were genetic (or I had) until after Trace's birth. Tristian had some big medical and possibly/probably autism related delays in early childhood but also taught himself to read at 2yrs and started on math equations at 4yrs. Trace is bit delayed across the board by about 6 months, but as he's 1yr+ behind in height... it's not very noticable ;-) Trace is very musical and hands on. With plenty of common sense, love, good doctors and faith we are doing wonderfully!

This wonderful chapter in my life of discovering the green subculture has (mostly) ended. Living green on a budget has changed from the thrill of discovery to habit. This blog remains in rememberance- with occasionally crossover posting. I hope you join me- the same green mama on a budget, in a new blog celebrating life's daily experiences- LIFE O'KAY http://lifeokay.blogspot.com/ Still lots of crafts & crunchiness- with even more sweet family moments.

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Calynl
(at)Gmail(dot)com

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