In a Positive Psychology study completed by Seligman, Steen, Park, and Peterson (2005), participants were randomly selected into six control groups to determine which specific exercises would result in the most long-term happiness for individuals. The results found three particular exercises that individuals can do to significantly increase their overall happiness in the three domains I discussed in my previous post, which include living a pleasant life, an engaged life, and a meaningful life. In today’s blog post, I am going to discuss the first of these three exercises.
One thing to keep in mind when doing these exercises, is that research suggests that, “the long-term effects of the effective exercises were most pronounced for those who continued the exercises on their own” (Seligman et al, 2005, p. 419).
Using Signature Strengths in a New Way:
In this exercise, Seligman and colleagues (2005) asked participants to take a Character Strengths inventory online at www.authentichappiness.org. This inventory can be located under Questionnaires titled “VIA Survey of Character Strengths.” Once you take the survey, the results provide you with individualized feedback on your top-five signature strengths. (Mine happen to be 1-Forgiveness & Mercy, 2-Industry, Diligence, & Perseverance, 3-Gratitude, 4-Honesty, Authenticity, & Genuineness, and 5-Judgement, Critical Thinking, & Open-Mindedness.) Once you have your five signature strengths, you will use one of these top strengths in a new and different way each day for at least one week.
Some examples of things you can do to use your signature strengths in new and different ways can be found at the following website: http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/newsletters.aspx?id=55&coll_id=6
In the comments section below, answer the following questions:
1. What are your 5 signature strengths?
2. What might you do to use your strengths in a new and different way each day?
Set Your Goals
If you would like help creating your own exercises to improve your long-term happiness, contact me today for a FREE Consultation to see how I can help you start setting goals and taking action to begin living a more successful, fulfilling, and happier life.
Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation and interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410-421.