Gratitude is the WHY of peace, happiness, and life satisfaction, and a Growth Mindset constitutes the HOW.
What are they?
Dr. Martin Seligman – Father of Positive Psychology and Dr. Neil Mayerson, first studied and identified the 24 character strengths in all humans, and divided them into 6 broad categories of virtues.
What are the 24 Character Strengths?
When I studied Positive Psychology the explanation Dr. Martin Seligman gave for choosing these particular 24 character strengths was that they were common in different races, cultures, ages, societies, and personalities.
All humans have these 24 character strengths. We just have them in varying degrees according to our traits, personalities, environments, upbringing, and experiences.
The best part is that having less of something is NOT counted as a weakness. It just means you can use your natural top 5 strengths to develop those where you need assistance with.
To know how I used this – read till the end.
Also, I wrote a poem on the 24 character strengths for children – BLOSSOM: A Virtues Tale – read it to your kids at bedtime.
Where can I know my own character strengths?
Any person can know their top 5 character strengths by taking the Free VIA survey done by the VIA Institute established by Dr. Martin Seligman and Dr. Neil Mayerson.
To take the survey for yourself, you can click here
Over 2.5 million people have taken and benefitted from this survey.
Which are the top 2 character strengths for well being to have?
So naturally as this survey became popular the question rose – which are the best strengths for well being to have.
Now a disclaimer here is that this is not a popularity contest. It is to understand why they are the best strengths to have.
My top 2 strengths were the love of learning and gratitude and when I read this article I was elated to know that they are the top strengths most predictive of well-being by Scott Barry Kaufman, Ph.D. to have.
To read the article with the full analysis as to how he came to this conclusion, click here
Gratitude is the quality of being thankful. For me, it is the shortcut to happiness.
When we are grateful, we are:
- Curious to find happiness in our life
- Validate other’s and our own feelings
- Kinder to others and ourselves
- Less judgemental
- More peaceful and content
- Easier to look for meaning in life
We cannot be grateful and angry at the same time. Read that again!
Since when we are reactive in our minds and bodies – one of the ways to calm down to a responsive state – is being grateful.
It was God’s divine blessing to me that I was born to grateful parents who imbibed this vital quality in me. Thus, being grateful became a part of who I am.
Here are some practices I do to keep myself grateful in difficult times:
- Find happiness in the small moments
- Thank God for the lesson
- Put myself in another’s shoes
- Instead of – why me, I say – why not me?
- Find the learning
- Remind myself that everything is a phase
- Take 5 deep breaths and as I exhale – name a blessing I have right now
- Take a walk in nature. Looking at Nature reminds me there is much to be thankful for.
- Hug near and dear ones. Their warmth makes things easier
- Write 3 Good Things every night in my journal that happened during that day.
And finally, remind myself that life is all about perspective. Adding a grateful lens to it – makes it worth cherishing.
A love of learning came to me through reading books. Another gift bestowed on me which I am truly grateful for.
When we are learning, we are:
- find meaning in life
All these enable high self esteem and self worth.
When faced with a problem – the attitude is :
- I need to learn about this
- I can do hard things
- I just haven’t figured it out YET
YET being the essence of the growth mindset.
Here are few of the things I do to enable a growth mindset, when facing difficulties:
- Read more on the particular subject
- Ask questions
- Ask for help when needed
- Look for experts, people who have experienced similar problems
Some things I do while learning something new:
- Do more of something I need to work on
- Quantity over Quality approach
(The more you do the better you will get. Perfectionism breeds procastination)
- Take risks
- Do things I am uncomfortable with, so I learn
- Be willing to accept failure
- Laugh at myself – how miserably I failed!
- Ask for help when needed
These character strengths have enabled me to increase my well being and work on my weaker strengths.
For example, I am weak in zest and humor. That is my husband’s strength. He is a totally fun person! So I’m learning that quality everyday from him and I am grateful he’s in my life.
So identify your top 5 character strengths and use them to strengthen your weak areas while utilising them to bring more happiness and satisfaction in your life.
Like if humor is your strength – use it to learn something, in your daily routine, when you speak etc. The more you use it the stronger it will become and make you feel happier.
For example, I realised:
As I look with gratitude towards my past and a willingness to learn towards my future –
my present automatically becomes a gift.Prachi Bansal
Wishing you a Growthful and Grateful day!