Positive psychology is the study of well-being and identifies tools and behaviors that increase positive feelings. One area of research is cultivating personal strengths to increase wellness. A personal strength is defined as “a pre-existing capacity for a particular way of behaving, thinking, or feeling that is authentic and energizing to the user, and enables optimal functioning, development, and performance”(Paquette,2018).
Research suggests that people who identify and use personal strengths:
show a decrease in depression,
increased sense of well being,
stronger social and romantic relationships,
buffers against stress.
Positive Psychology researchers Martin Seligman and Christopher Peterson identified seven categories of strengths:
Wisdom and Knowledge:
Strengths: Creativity, curiosity, open-mindedness, love of learning, perspective
Strengths: love, kindness, social intelligence,
Strengths: bravery, integrity, persistence, vitality
Strengths: citizenship, fairness, leadership
Strengths: forgiveness and mercy, humility and modesty, prudence, self-regulation
Strengths: appreciation of beauty and excellence, gratitude, hope, humor, spirituality
Identifying personal strengths:
Perhaps the easiest way to identify personal strengths is to take Seligman and Peterson’s Values in Action survey at www.viacharacter.org. This free online survey will identify your core strengths.
Incorporating Personal Strengths into daily life:
Once you’ve identified your strengths, take some time to ask yourself the following:
How am I using my strengths in my daily life?
Am I using all my strengths?
Are there new ways to use neglected strengths in my daily life?
Identifying and using your personal strengths increases well being. If you needs help identifying your strengths, psychotherapy can help. Meeting with a psychologist can help you explored blocks to happiness and embracing the best parts of yourself.
The Happiness Toolbox by Jonah Paquette(2018)
VIA Character Strengths:
Pamela Marsh, Psy.D.
Pamela Marsh is a licensed psychologist at Marsh Psychology Group. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 248-869-2024.