Character strengths…what are they?

Posted by Jennifer Campoli on March 24th, 2010
Filed under Goals, Positive psychology, Uncategorized, Wellness | 1 Comment »

Hello there!

I am writing to you with the sun shining on my back and a cool breeze from our window. I can smell the fresh air and feel the changing of the seasons. This a moment friends where you slow down, breathe in and just let positive energy fill your body. Let go of the stress, let go of the guy who cut you off on your way to work, let go of the lunch you packed that is still sitting on your kitchen counter, let go of all of the things you haven't gotten to yet. Let go of the frustrations and just be.

I know, a bit over the top with the positive energy Jenn. But here is what I have found and what research has found: incorporating behaviors like this in your day, where you take a step out of the business of life and focus on the energy in your body, you are likely to experience less stress and more of an ability to foster positive perspectives.

This moment did a few things for my frame of mind:

  • I was able to refocus my mind, my energy and my emotions
  • I felt centered
  • My mind was more awake
  • My energy felt positive

I like to call these moments of appreciation or simply pressing the reset button. No matter what type of day I have had or how I expect the rest of my day to go…these moments allow me to feel in control of my mind, my actions and my energy. Try it!

Character Strengths…what are they and do they impact who I am?

What makes us who we are? A rather large question, wouldn't you say?

I like to think that we are a very unique and evolving combination of values, strengths, interests and experiences. As part of my wellness coaching I have been exposed to research behind a number of these areas but today I would love to share with you what I have recently learned about character strengths and how those strengths influence our day.

Every person in this world has their own presence. By presence I mean the "feel" of someone: their energy, attitude, or perspective and how that is reflected in their personality and choices in life. Think of someone's presence as their collection of values and strengths. Our values are a set of beliefs and can be used as a guide to help us navigate life. Strengths are a collection of traits or characteristics that help us grow, learn, and excel. Our strengths can be a source of power and motivation for us. Our strengths can be our line of defense. They are what we use to support our goals, make changes and work through challenges. But often, our strengths are untapped or unrecognized (regardless of how many times we are asked "what are your greatest strengths" in an interview).

So how do we uncover or discover some of our greatest strengths? Well, you can certainly make a list of things that you do well, aspects of your personality that give you strength, and traits that other people in your life comment on or notice. There are a number of exercises that you can do to discover your strengths. But yesterday I was introduced to a website that has a fabulous survey focused exclusively on uncovering your greatest strenghts.

I give you Authentic Happiness. A website devoted to the work of Martin Seligman, who is the main promoter of the field of positive psychology. A fabulous man with fabulous research.

So how can you use this site? Well, register for free and take the Values in Action survey of character strengths. It takes about 30 minutes but the results are oh so fun! You are given a list of  what are called your signature strengths (top strengths) and then a ranking of 24 strengths. Your signature strengths interact and influence who you are the most.

Now why should I take this survey Jenn? Well, I think it is a very cool experience to read about your top strengths so that then YOU can make the decision if you agree with the results. Secondly, this survey will open your eyes and your mind to qualities and strengths that have a strong presence in who you are! These strengths, once recognized, can be a huge source of support for you in your life.

When I start working with a client, we initially work to craft their wellness vision. A wellness vision is where the client is looking to go, what they want, who they want to be and what that will feel like or look like. But in order to reach a particular vision we need goals. And in order to reach our goals, we need to discover and use our strengths/supports. This is where fabulous things happen my friends!

So, do 2 new things for yourself this week:

1. Take a moment out of your day and just breathe. Soak up your surroundings, let go of daily frustrations and let positive energy carry you forward.

2. Go to authentic happiness and check out what makes you strong! Discover your character strengths.

Have a wonderful rest of the day!

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One Response to “Character strengths…what are they?”

  1. Sue says:

    Jenn- I have not had time to take the survey but have marked the Authentic Happiness site in my favorites so I can go back to it when I have a free moment. Great post. I have been pressing my reset button all day (it's just been one of those days).

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