Add positivity, healthy awareness, and joy to your life with a free online resource sponsored by the Penn Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Alumni Association. Along with the goal of helping people find more joy in the moment, the team also ...
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Image Credits
Mean eye picture Photo by ahmed zid on Unsplash
Self in mirror Photo by Taylor Smith on Unsplash
Don’t be mean image Photo by Ashley Whitlatch on Unsplash

This article first appeared on Positive Psychology News. To see the original article, click here. To comment on this article, click here.

Yashi Srivastava, MAPP '16 is a coach, teacher, and writer passionate about helping people cultivate inner peace. While Yashi began her career teaching computer programming, her life-long fascination with the human mind led her to become a people development professional. You can learn more about Yashi on her website and on LinkedIn.

Yashi's articles for PositivePsychologyNews.com are here.


    
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Your Positive Portfolio: A Tool to Fight off the Sadness of the Corona Crisis

By Nico Rose

By Nico Rose -

Stress and anxiety are on the rise as the coronavirus pandemic continues to rampage the entire globe. Billions of people suffer either from the imminent consequences of the disease itself or its many adverse side effects, such as losing income, trying to maintain a reasonable level of productivity while working from home, or being separated from their families and friends for prolonged periods of time.

Naturally, people are searching for ways to either calm down or cheer up in order to not lose their minds. Here´s the challenge: Most of the things we usually do to attain these emotional states, such as going to the gym, taking a yoga class, or seeking the comfort of our loved ones, are not permitted in many countries due to virus countermeasures.

But what if there were a simple way that could help you to feel better in an instant and almost automatically? What if everything you needed were already in your pocket, or even in your hands, right now?

Phones exist around the world

Creating your Positive Portfolio

I encourage you to create on your smartphone what I call a digital Positive Portfolio: This is a folder attached to your home screen where you consciously assemble artifacts, such as photos, videos, and music, that evoke memories of special positive valence. Think about wedding videos, pictures of newborns, the most mellow shots from a cherished vacation, that special song you used to hear back then, and reminders of small and big victories in sports, business, and life in general.

In essence, the Positive Portfolio is a digitally enhanced and readily available version of the good old photo album, only it is consciously created around the notion of emotional valence rather than around a specific period from your life. You could even think about crafting several editions for different emotional needs, such as relaxation and amplifying optimism.

After crafting your portfolio, you can use it in times of stress for a few minutes whenever you have a short break. Do it instead of smoking, eating sweets, or other behaviors that help to fight off stress but have negative side effects over time. It´s a method that is actually quick and easy, as opposed to techniques that claim to be simple but actually aren’t.

Use Phone for a quick lift in spirits

Creating a Positive Portfolio basically works for everyone everywhere, and you can start today. It´s essentially free of cost as everything we need is already waiting for us. We all have experienced moments in our lives that are positively outstanding in one way or another, and currently roughly four billion people do own a smartphone.

How and why does it work?

The idea of the Positive Portfolio runs counter to the notion that using a cellphone creates or aggravates stress and negative emotions. Employed mindfully, a smartphone can be turned into a powerful tool to fight off stress and fatigue. The emotional valence of our positive reminiscences is literally at hand and can be of tremendous value when used proactively, both in normal life and under especially stressful circumstances.

The Positive Portfolio draws on ideas by Barbara Fredrickson (University of North Carolina) and James Pawelski (University of Pennsylvania), two eminent scholars in the field of Positive Psychology. Yet, the underlying principle is much older: When we remember something vividly, to some degree our bodies upload (metaphorically speaking) the emotional state that was present in the original situation. As our emotional states are accompanied by specific physiological states such as the release of certain hormones and neurotransmitters, we can hardly experience opposing emotions simultaneously. That is, it is nearly impossible to be relaxed and stressed at the same time because of the divergent physiological activity.

When faced with contradictory stimuli, in most cases, the stronger stimulus will prevail. Therein lies the power of the Positive Portfolio: If we manage to pick and aggregate distinctly powerful memories, namely those that are linked to vivid and authentic positive emotions, the Positive Portfolio will almost certainly win over weaker negative emotions.

Always available…

In addition to the effects of using the tool when completed, the process of creating and maintaining a Positive Portfolio can have beneficial effects. Gathering, ordering, and arranging information is a structured, conscious activity that will keep your attention off thinking about whatever stressors are also present in any given moment. It is not a panacea for sure. But it comes at basically no cost and doesn’t have any negative side effects.

We´re all the same

Over the last years, I have explained the use and the mechanics of the Positive Portfolio to thousands of managers in keynotes on leadership and self-management in Germany and Europe. Usually, it´s one of the talking points that generates the most resonance with my audiences because the creation of the Positive Portfolio is a simple and intuitive process. I also use the construction of the Positive Portfolio as a group activity during workshops. In doing so, participants learn that, beyond our professional personae, we are basically the same and cherish similar things: our partners, our children, specific works of art, mellow evenings at the beach, and awe-inspiring mountainsides.

Are you ready to create your own Positive Portfolio now?
 


 
References

Yee-Ming Tan (2009). Awe and becoming larger than yourself. Positive Psychology News.

Fredrickson, B. L. (2009). Positivity: Groundbreaking Research Reveals How to Embrace the Hidden Strength of Positive Emotions, Overcome Negativity, and Thrive. New York: Crown.



5 articles

You are Invited to Body Full of Joy

By Elaine O'Brien and Nicholas Ritchey

By Elaine O'Brien and Nicholas Ritchey -

Add positivity, healthy awareness, and joy to your life with a free online resource sponsored by the Penn Master of Applied Positive Psychology (MAPP) Alumni Association. Follow this brand new link to help you connect to your body and enjoy positive movement and the fun factor. The resource is called Body Full of Joy.

During these complex times, the Body Full of Joy Team has produced thirty one-to-two minute online videos designed to help you center, stretch, relax, energize, connect to your body, and have a laugh. You can access the series either via the link above or by going directly to the Youtube playlist.. The introductory video is embedded below.

The Body Full of Joy videos are presented by seven Positive Psychology leaders. They form a tool for increasing physical strength, mental health, and well-being by boosting positive emotions, awareness, and embodiment. Each brief video explores the transformative power of energy and somatic awareness. This well-being initiative is based on the positive psychology, movement science, and kinesthetic experience.

Amanda Moffa and Dr. Elaine O’Brien, both MAPP graduates, answered a call to action from Dr. Martin Seligman, Penn MAPP Founder and arguably the Father of Positive Psychology (at least in modern times). At an early MAPP Meeting discussing strategies to help people during the Covid-19 pandemic, Dr. Seligman spoke about the need for “neck down” interventions to help people experience more joy and positivity.

Elaine leading the dance. Photo by Kathi Norman

In a later interview conducted by Senia Maymin, Seligman encouraged webinar attendees to “play more, dance more, and do more physical activity.” We found it validating and uplifting to have him shine a light on the importance of physical activity, the body, and movement. He called movement a “source of joy.”

After the interview, Amanda and Elaine connected, decided to collaborate, and recruited a talented team of positive psychology experts to co-create Body Full of Joy with the tag-line “Move your body and love your mind.”

Along with the goal of helping people find more positivity and joy in the moment, the team also wanted to help people apply positivity in order to fight infection, lessening the risk of disease and enhancing their ability to thrive.

May I introduce the Body Full of Joy Team

The Body Full of Joy Team

Cecilie Løvestam, MAPP 2019, RYT, is a positive psychology practitioner, facilitator, certified yoga and mindfulness teacher with a background in trauma-informed mind and body practices. After seeing friends, family and students struggling during this time of uncertainty and social distancing, Cecilie wanted to share quick and accessible ways to move, breathe, and stretch to reduce stress, boost vitality, energy, resilience and spark joy! @cecilielovestam.com & Cecilie on Instagram.

LeeAnn Mallorie, MAPP 2015, MSC, is a Women’s Embodied Leadership Specialist at Guts & Grace. LeeAnn has spent a lifetime unraveling the body-mind split both for herself and for her clients, especially depleted female leaders and change-makers. She knows the power of a simple, relevant, grounded practice to create immediate relief in the body. She wanted to share a few of her best moves!

Amanda R. Moffa, MAPP 2019, is Communications and Student Engagement Coordinator, Wharton People Analytics. After dancing professionally with the National Football League for five years and experiencing a temporary halting injury, Amanda experienced first-hand both the benefits of movement, and the pitfalls of not moving. Amanda wants to encourage as many people as possible to reap the benefits of wellness through movement. @ instagram.com/MandiMoff/

Elaine O’Brien, Ph.D. 2015, MAPP 2008, is an educator, trainer, speaker, consultant, and writer combining Positive Psychology, Lifestyle Medicine, and Positive Movement Science to help boost flow, performance, and well-being. Elaine guided early fitness industry standards/certifications. She produced/choreographed the 1st National Football League Halftime show fundraiser. She also served as the U.S. Head Judge/Trainer for the National Aerobics Championship for 10 years, encouraging the sport and positive feedback practices. She has led PEP: Positive Energy Practices around the world boosting joy and learning. For more about Elaine, see her LinkedIn profile. She speaks and writes frequently about the importance of movement to well-being, including several articles on Positive Psychology News.

Healthy body enjoying the outdoors

Nick Ritchey, MAPP 2008, is a Mastermind Creator and Positive Psychosomatic Advisor @ LimitSlayer.com. After seeing friends and family struggling with self-quarantine, Nick wanted to share some quick and easy ways to help people stress less, move more and feel better every day.

Ilene Schaffer, MA, APPC, CAPP, is a huge believer in the power of walking and its impact on mind, body and spirit, Ilene wanted to share some simple ways to super-charge your everyday stroll. @IleneSchaffer.com. Check out her movement, Take Your Thoughts for a Walk.

Laura Taylor, MAPP 2014, is Managing Coordinator of Positive Education Programs at the University of Pennsylvania, Founder of Acting Strengths, and Co-Creator of the Penn Program for Flourishing with Faisal Khan @ facebook.com/ActingStrengths/. As a long-term dancer and musical theatre artist, movement has become a means of communication, processing emotion, and cultivating well-being. I am delighted to share my source of joy with you all and hope you take our invitation to #moveyourbody and #loveyourmind.

Along with the team above, the MAPP Alumni Board, especially Kathryn Britton, Andrew Soren, Karen Warner, and Sean Doyle have been instrumental in supporting the Body Full of Joy initiative.

Join Us Moving Our Bodies Toward Joy

Research demonstrates the value of positivity, and also how positive movement alleviates (dis)stress, helps us think, sleep, and feel better. Our healthy body and positive physical activity can lead us to greater well-being. Body Full of Joy can be a quick and easy way to build healthy habits and empower your mind, body and spirit. We hope you will check it out, join in, and up your joy factor.
 


 
References
Cohen, S., Doyle, W. J., Turner, R. B., Alper, C. M., & Skoner, D. P. (2003). Emotional style and susceptibility to the common cold. Psychosomatic Medicine, 65, 652-657. Abstract.

Image Credits:

Woman standing outdoors Photo by Morgan Sarkissian on Unsplash
Picture of man looking at rainbow courtesy of Nicholas Ritchey
Picture of Elaine O’Brien dancing courtesy of Kathi Norman

This article first appeared on Positive Psychology News. To see the original article, click here. To comment on this article, click here.

Elaine O'Brien, PhD, MAPP '08, is a positive psychology, fitness leadership, positive health promotion, movement science, aging, and well-being speaker, author, trainer, thought leader, people/project manager, educator, and consultant. Elaine creates programs promoting proactive positive health/fitness, and optimal performance. Elaine presents internationally and online. She advances health, fitness, and flourishing by inspiring people to move more and to find both enjoyment and meaning in motion via PEP: Positive Exercise Practices. Full bio. Elaine's articles are here.

Nicholas Ritchey, MAPP '08, is a Mastermind Creator and Positive Psychosomatic Advisor at LimitSlayer. Nick helps people with weight loss and personal development. Follow him: @LimitSlayer.


    


The Worst Boss Ever!

By Yashi Srivastava

By Yashi Srivastava -

Have you ever worked with a really mean boss? One who is quick to notice your mistakes and is blind to your accomplishments? One who counts the number of hours you spent in office but forgets that you also worked on the weekend? One who seems to have made it his or her mission to make your life miserable?

Considering quite a few employees leave their organizations because of a bad manager, I am guessing many of you can relate to the frustrations of having a boss like this. The question I have been pondering over in the last few years is: What do you do when your mean boss is not another person, but you yourself?

What is the boss in the mirror like?

Mean Boss in the Mirror

After having worked with over half-a-dozen supervisors in a span of eight years in various roles, a few years ago, I started my own business and thus, became my own boss. While I knew there would be challenges associated with being an entrepreneur, the biggest challenge I ran into, especially in the initial years, was one that had simply not occurred to me: I happened to be the worst boss I had ever had in my life.

I distinctly remember the moment this realization dawned upon me: it was the end of a day that hadn’t been very productive. Being in the early years of setting up my business, I constantly struggled with the challenges that came with the territory: the fears, the self-doubt, the isolation. On this particular day, as I wrapped up my work, my boss started pointing to how much time I had wasted, how incompetent I was at this “business thing,” how I was never going to make it, and so on.

I was sitting at my desk in my home-office feeling sad and lonely when the thought struck me. If anyone else in the world had said those things to me, I would have pushed back. I would have said they had no right to be so mean to me. I would have pointed to all that I had learned that day and all the progress I had made. I might even have suggested they were falling prey to the human tendency of negativity bias. Upon realizing this, I was compelled to ask myself: if I wasn’t going to allow anyone else to treat me so poorly, why on earth was I doing it to myself? Was that the kind of boss I wanted to be?

The Alternative is Self-Compassion

The answer, of course, was an emphatic no. I wanted to be a wonderful boss to myself: one who cared about performance and pushed me to do my best and was kind at the same time. This was easier said than done, though. As Kristin Neff, the leading researcher on the topic of self-compassion states in her TEDx talk, most of us are our own worst critics. We say things to ourselves that we won’t say even to people we don’t like. We find it easier to be kind, forgiving, and generous to other people than to ourselves.

I thought that’s quite unfair, and I took solace in Neff’s assertion that we can all learn to be more self-compassionate, thereby becoming better managers for ourselves in our professional as well as personal lives.

A Deliberate Effort

 

In the past few years, I have made a deliberate effort to practice self-compassion in my life, thereby becoming a better boss to myself.

One practice that I have found particularly helpful is keeping a self-compassion journal, a recommendation from Neff’s website. Journaling for me has always been a way to process difficult thoughts and emotions. When I turned to journaling for self-compassion, it worked well. If journaling isn’t a preferred approach for you, Neff offers various other exercises to practice self-compassion.

Self-Compassion is a More Effective Motivator Than Self-Criticism

Some people might find the idea of self-compassion selfish or self-indulgent. They worry that being self-compassionate amounts to letting oneself off the hook. Then nothing gets done. However, Neff’s research finds that self-compassion provides a more effective form of motivation than self-criticism. This makes sense even from my experience. Having a boss be mean may create fear-based motivation in the short-term. In the longer run, immense anxiety and frustration are likely to adversely impact one’s quality of work.

It Takes Practice

Frankly, it’s not always easy for me to be self-compassionate. However, I have found it to be a worthy skill to practice, as it positively impacts my personal as well as professional well-being. If you are being mean to yourself, I urge you to try self-compassion. Chances are, this will not just make you a better boss to yourself, it will also help you become a better manager, spouse, parent, friend, and human being to those around you.
 


 
References

Kelly, J. (2019, November 22). People don’t leave bad jobs, They leave bad bosses: Here’s how to be a better manager to maintain and motivate your team. Forbes Online.

Neff, K. D. (2011). Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind. New York: HarperCollins.

Neff, K. D. (2013). Self-Compassion Step by Step: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. Sounds True.

Neff, K. (2013, February). The space between self-esteem and self compassion [Video file].

Neff, K. (n.d.). Compassion Exercises.

Rozin, P., & Royzman, E. B. (2001). Negativity bias, negativity dominance, and contagion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 5(4), 296-320.

Picture Credits
Woman with hat photo by Meghan Schiereck on Unsplash
Man holding red phone photo by Dean Bennett on Unsplash
Smiling Woman with Phone Photo by Erik Brolin on Unsplash
Seated man leaning over phone Photo by Derick Anies on Unsplash

This article first appeared on Positive Psychology News. To see the original article, click here. To comment on this article, click here.

Dr. Nico Rose (MAPP '14) is a professor for organizational psychology at International School of Management (ISM) in Dortmund, Germany. He worked for Bertelsmann, Europe's largest media corporation from 2010 to 2018, most recently as Vice President Employer Branding & Talent Acquisition. For several years, he published Mappalicious, the German side of positive psychology. His book, Arbeit besser machen, was published in 2019. Nico's articles can be found here.


    
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Corona Crisis: Time for Self-Compassion

By Nico Rose

By Nico Rose -

Some people seem to believe that the world-wide pandemic is a time for self-optimization. For several weeks now, the self-help sections of many news outlets are overflowing with well-intentioned but, measured by their consequences, poorly directed advice.

As if it weren’t difficult enough to lead a decent life under normal circumstances, we´re asked to “perform” and to “shine”, even while cherished routines don’t work any more, crucial income streams are drying up, and it’s prohibited to seek the close comfort of being with important people in our lives. In other words, we’re being asked to self-optimize while our worlds are breaking apart.

Care for ourselves as we would a child

What We Urgently Need Now: Compassion for Ourselves

Instead of trying to maintain a beautiful veneer under the current circumstances, I would like to recommend something entirely different to open-minded readers: Cultivate a stance that psychology professor Kristin Neff calls self-compassion. The best way to think about self-compassion is just showing to yourself the same level of kindness, care, and support when you´re struggling or suffering that you would also show to a good friend. When we look at the way people treat themselves, we´ll notice that oftentimes, they´re much harder on themselves than on others. Accordingly, a simple way of thinking about self-compassion is including yourself in that circle of concern.

The Three Pillars of Self-Compassion

In scientific terms, there are three pillars to self-compassion:

Mindfulness poem

  1. Mindfulness. Put simply, this is about staying in the moment without too much judgment. With respect to self-compassion, this means at times we have to be mindful of our pain and our struggle. Yet typically, people try to avoid these emotions. One goal of self-compassion is to learn how to just be with those feelings. That also means not trying to fix everything right away.
     
  2. Self-kindness. This involves responding to our suffering with kind-heartedness and care in a non-judgmental way. It helps to imagine a good friend approaching to talk about a troublesome crisis. How would we react? What would we say or do? What would we want to avoid doing so as not seem indifferent or disrespectful?
     
  3. Common humanity. This one is about recognizing that all people live imperfect lives, especially under the current circumstances. That may seem obvious, but emotionally, when we suffer, we tend to believe this should not be happening to us. This, in turn, can lead people to feeling disconnected. So, not only do we have to face the struggle itself, but we also have to deal with feelings of shame about failing. But when we manage to remember this is part of the human experience, we feel better connected to other people, and it gives us a sense of perspective.

Self-Compassion Does Not Mean Sitting Out

A Yin and Yang to Self-compassion

At first glance, self-compassion may sound weak, especially when compared to those headstrong heroes we know from our favorite Hollywood movies. However, Kristin Neff regularly emphasizes that self-compassion is not equivalent to accepting what is. She says that there are Yin and Yang parts to self-compassion. The softer Yin part is about the internal perspective: caring, comforting, and nurturing. But there also is a strong external Yang element which involves questions such as “How do I protect myself?”, and “How do I move forward?” It´s obvious that this element is very important in business settings. At the same time, there´s a natural tendency in organizations to stick to the Yang side too much. Accordingly, organizational leaders need to model and encourage the softer Yin side of self-compassion as well, especially now, when so many employees are suffering in one way or another.

Outlook

I am aware that the concept of self-compassion may initially feel strange to some people, especially to those who are used to performing well, no matter what. Ultimately, we can think about self-compassion as a supportive voice within ourselves, a kind of caring and constructive coach. A good coach will not tell us everything´s fine when it´s clearly not. Instead, a good coach will ask tough questions and point out areas of improvement. But the coach will never devalue us, always make it clear that on a basic level that we´re a worthy human being.

This is what we all need to remember. It is true on any given day, but even more so in times of the corona pandemic. We are all human, and therefore we´re all imperfect and vulnerable, especially now. We don´t need to pretend we have everything under control. We don´t have to be perfect. We´re definitely not less lovable for being imperfect. Let’s grant ourselves space to experience this kind of comfort in the same way we would grant it to our parents, our partners, our children, and our best friends. We do deserve it.

 


 
References

Neff, K. D. (2011). Self-Compassion: Stop Beating Yourself Up and Leave Insecurity Behind. New York: HarperCollins.

Neff, K. D. (2013). Self-Compassion Step by Step: The Proven Power of Being Kind to Yourself. Sounds True.

Photo credits

Photo of man and child by Jed Owen on Unsplash
Mindfulness bowl Photo by Allie on Unsplash
Yin and Yang Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

This article first appeared on Positive Psychology News. To see the original article, click here. To comment on this article, click here.

Dr. Nico Rose (MAPP '14) is a professor for organizational psychology at International School of Management (ISM) in Dortmund, Germany. He worked for Bertelsmann, Europe's largest media corporation from 2010 to 2018, most recently as Vice President Employer Branding & Talent Acquisition. For several years, he published Mappalicious, the German side of positive psychology. His book, Arbeit besser machen, was published in 2019. Nico's articles can be found here.


    
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Taking Positive Action in the Midst of Negativity

By Sydney Kastner and Leora Rifkin

By Sydney Kastner and Leora Rifkin -

Authors’ Note: This article is intended to help people find ways to use strengths during a challenging time. We also want to acknowledge that although we are in the same storm, we are not in the same boat. COVID-19 has disproportionately impacted Black, Latinx, and Indigenous communities. We recognize that COVID-19 has caused immense strain, pain, and grief in ways that are different for each of us. This article may not feel as accessible or helpful for those among us who are struggling the most, but our hope is that anyone who reads it might be able to identify and recognize the strengths that they already have within them to support their well-being during this time.

Easy Ways to Use Character Strengths During these Difficult Times

These days, our daily routines are out of whack. In the midst of chaos, we can lose sight of what supports us to feel our best. According to research, being able to identify and use our character strengths can help us handle stress. It can also help us buffer against the new challenges that come as we adjust to a new normal.

What holds us up?

Although it can be difficult to identify our strengths during times of crisis, psychologists led by Martin Seligman and Chris Peterson created a list of 24 character strengths that have been proven to be universal around the globe. We each have every character strength, but they exist in varying degrees in each of us. The character strengths that we have the most are our signature strengths. These are the qualities that make us feel the most like OURSELVES. Using them has been shown to be connected to higher well-being, positive emotions, and the meeting of basic psychological needs.

An easy way to find our unique combination of character strengths is to take the VIA Character Strengths survey. Exploring and applying character strengths can help us improve relationships, buffer against negative feelings, manage problems, and enhance our well-being during this challenging time.

We offer some simple suggestions for activating different character strengths while dealing with the international pandemic. People often use multiple character strengths at the same time. So, we indicate opportunities for likely BOGOs (think “buy one get one”) of character strengths application. For example, trying something new may be an intentional application of curiosity, but it can also activate Love of Learning at the same time.

Can you identify specific activities that use a combination of your strengths? How are you using character strengths to support your well-being during this time? Share your ideas in the comments.

Virtue Character Strength Ideas to Activate Your Character Strengths
Wisdom:
Strengths that help you gather and use knowledge
Creativity Host a virtual game night using the Houseparty app.
Join an Instagram live by DJ D-Nice and party at #ClubQuarantine.
Throw a themed Zoom call.
Curiosity Pick up a book you find interesting.
Use the StoryCorps app to interview someone in your house or even virtually.
Try something new.
BOGO: Love of Learning
Judgement/Critical Thinking Think about a problem your community might be facing because of the pandemic. How can you help? For example, buy something from a local business, donate to a food bank, or walk around and “visit” your neighbors from a safe distance.
BOGO: Kindness, Teamwork
Love of Learning Think of a new skill or body of knowledge you want to learn, and take the first step. Download an article about it or watch a Youtube video.
BOGO: Curiosity
Perspective Think of all of the people who are helpers. Make a sign to hang on your door thanking them.
BOGO: Gratitude
Courage:
Strengths that help you exercise your will and face adversity
Bravery Reflect on a way you have been strong in the face of a challenge recently. Try to be as specific as possible.
Next time you are on a video chat ask someone to share a moment they used their strength of bravery to persevere.
BOGO: Perseverance
Perseverance Create a plan for how you will finish a task or group of tasks today, even if there are obstacles in your way. This could be cleaning part of your house, ensuring your children finish their school work, making sure your animals are cared for. It does not have to be a huge task.
Honesty Write a note to someone you love and tell them how you feel.
BOGO: Gratitude, Kindness.
Zest* Move your body.
Check out a free yoga, dance, or workout class on YouTube.
Humanity:
Strengths that help you in one-on-one relationships
Love Reach out to a person you love and schedule a video chat to enjoy strengthening your bond.
Kindness Write a thank you note to someone on the front lines.
Volunteer to virtually connect with an elderly person experiencing isolation (Adopt a Grandparent).
If it is safe for you, volunteer to donate blood at the Red Cross.
BOGO: Kindness, Gratitude
Social Intelligence Reflect on an interaction you had recently. Was there someone who seemed to need more support? Check in.
BOGO: Kindness, Love
Justice:
Strengths that help you in community or group-based situations
Teamwork Find a way to enhance communication during this time of physical distance.
Create a group text thread or slack channel to connect a work team, family, friends, or any group.
Assign roles around daily chores so that every person in your house knows their role and can be a great teammate.
BOGO: Kindness, Social Intelligence
Fairness Read an article or listen to a podcast about the inequities of COVID-19 experiences in different groups of people.
What steps could you take after you get that knowledge?
BOGO: Curiosity, Love of Learning
Leadership Reach out to someone (virtually) who might need a message of hope or support. Provide them with ideas to help them get through.
BOGO: Perspective, Humility
Temperance:
Strengths that help you manage habits and protect against excess
Forgiveness Write yourself a permission slip. “I give myself permission not to feel guilty for watching TV or letting my kids indulge in screen time.”
What can you give yourself permission to do (or not do!) right now?
BOGO: Love, Perspective
Humility Listen to someone else share their fears or concerns and instead of giving advice offer support.
BOGO: Kindness, Love
Prudence When you stay home, follow CDC guidelines, and only leave the house for essential items with your mask on, you are already exercising your strength of prudence.
Think of how you might use your prudence strength to kindly encourage a friend or family member to make the most cautious decision given the circumstances we’re in.
BOGO: Perspective
Self-Regulation Create a new normal by scheduling your top priorities and creating a plan to execute them by a specific time. For example, if you know working out makes you feel good then schedule it for 8am. Carve out time in your day to follow through on what you need to support your well-being right now.
Transcendence:
Strengths that help you connect to the larger universe and provide meaning
Gratitude** Write down what you are grateful for and share it with someone you love.
BOGO: Appreciation of Beauty & Excellence
Hope* Reflect on what you want life to be like when shelter-in-place is over. What have you started doing or stopped doing that you want to continue even when you are free to go out?
Humor Watch a comedy special or listen to a funny podcast. Send around a meme or video that made you laugh!
Spirituality Tune into a live religious service.
If you find meaning and comfort outside of a religious institution, practice yoga, meditate, or journal.
Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence Take a walk in nature or step outside to view the sunset.
Watch a nature documentary visiting a new place in the world.
Share what you appreciated with a loved one.
BOGO: Creativity: find a new route or view tomorrow.

If you are interested in learning more about how to use Character Strengths to support your well-being check out the reference list below, including articles about coping with Coronavirus by Dr. Ryan Niemiec and Jane S. Anderson.

*Zest & hope are found repeatedly to be the most strongly linked with happiness
**Gratitude is linked with having more positive emotions, optimism, life satisfaction, vitality, religion, spirituality, and less depression.

 


 
References

Niemiec, R. M. (2017). Character Strengths Interventions. Hogrefe Publishers.

Niemiec, R. M. (2020). Coping with Coronavirus: A strengths perspective. VIA Institute on Character.

Anderson, J. S. Strengths-based living blog. Includes articles about strengths-building practices.

Anderson, J. S. (2018). 30 Days of Character Strengths: A Guided Practice to Ignite Your Best. Strength Based Living LCC.

Peterson, C. & Seligman, M. (2004). Character strengths and virtues: A handbook and classification.. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Polly, S. & Britton, K. H. (Eds.) (2015). Character Strengths Matter: How to Live a Full Life (Positive Psychology News). Positive Psychology News.

Rashid, T. (no date). Flourish: Build Your Strengths.

Image credit
Tea by the water Photo by Loverna Journey on Unsplash
Flower and Gates Photo by Huseyin OZBEKAR on Unsplash

This article first appeared on Positive Psychology News. To see the original article, click here. To comment on this article, click here.

Sydney Kastner, MAPP '19 is the Director of Well-Being and growth at 4.0 Schools and a consultant, facilitator, and coach. You can follow her on instagram @wellbeingwithsyd.


Leora Viega Rifkin, MAPP '16, is the creator of Mighty Questions, offering affordable coaching because she believes coaching should be accessible to everyone. Leora holds a Master's degree in Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. LinkedIn profile. Leora's solo articles are here.


    
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