I have a confession to make – I don’t love some of the ideas floating around in the mental health/coaching fields. I struggle with the idea that when I am plagued with anxiety, or anger, or depression it means I have something “wrong” with me that requires “fixing.” This mindset just really rubs me wrong! Instead, I prefer to think of it as a matter of skills and strategies: What skills can I use to create or deepen strategies that enable me to better manage feelings of anxiety, anger, sadness, etc. I prefer to come to this from a strengths perspective.
A lot of researchers agree with this perspective! Studies conducted in 2006 through 2017 consistently demonstrate strong correlations between the development of our strengths and increased mental wellness in children and adults.
So how do we start to understand our strengths? One way is through the Character Strength Survey through the VIA Institute of Character Development. This free tool takes about 15 minutes to complete and will give you a list of your strengths, from most used to least.
Once you have identified your strengths, it is essential to begin to see how you use these in your everyday life. Often referred to as strength-spotting, the ability to “see” your strengths and choose when and how to use various strengths enables you to work at your best more frequently.
I will dedicate a post to both strengths blindness and strength-spotting in the near future. For now, take a moment to watch the video below and hop over to the VIA website and take the survey. You may be surprised to see how your character strengths show-up in your life!
My top strengths included Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, Perspective, Gratitude, Hope and Creativity.
What are yours?