Surprising Studies that May Change the Way You Think

 In Better Life, Focusing on the positive

Check out the NEW audio version of this tip here.

One of the fascinating pieces of research from Positive Psychology that I commonly share at my talks has shocked many people.  After my talks, people tell me how it totally changed the way they think about their life and how they view others.  In fact, a year after attending one of my talks, a gentleman who made several comments defending the benefits of negativity, told me how this single slide flipped his attitude and he is now happier than he ever thought possible.

This eye-opening insight comes from studies on fraternal and identical twins.  It turns out that identical twins that share the same DNA have strikingly similar levels of positivity even if they were separated at birth and grew up with very different circumstances.  This did not apply to fraternal twins that by definition have different DNA.  After hundreds of these studies, scientists estimated that about 50% of our ability to “see the glass as half full” is due to our genetics!*

It wasn’t until sometime in my 30’s that I started to realize that I think about and notice the good things in life more easily than most people.  Learning about the twins studies helped me realize that this was at least partially because I inherited positive genes, and other people in my life weren’t so lucky.  They weren’t choosing to be negative; they were being influenced by their genetics. Suddenly I understood that I should be less judgmental and more understanding of their emotions.

The other insight that came out of the twin studies is that about 40% of our ability to be positive is due to how we think.  This was truly powerful because this meant we DID have control – we could take steps to build our positivity and change how we experience our lives.  The problem is that most people aren’t aware of this possibility.  The idea that we can train our minds to shift how we think is a relatively new concept in the science field. My goal is to spread the word with my talks, journal, and weekly tips.  You can help by sharing this weekly tip on Facebook, Twitter or just forward it to a few friends.


Tina Hallis, Ph.D. is a professional speaker and consultant for The Positive Edge.  She uses science to help people shift the way they think so they can achieve more success in their work and in their lives.  

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