Psych Central

Mindfulness: What You May Not Know

By Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D

question mark with figure

I’ve had the privilege of leading hundreds of mindfulness groups over the years as well as retreats and all-day mindfulness workshops for professionals and the general public. When I ask participants and people in audiences questions relating to these points below, I end up straining my ears to hear a response. Each of these 11 observations and findings is important so hopefully this blog entry will dispel some of the silence.

Continue reading… »

Why You Should Go See “Man of Steel”

By Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D

Man of Steel
Superman has made a strong comeback! After several failed movie attempts with this superhero, Man of Steel brings not only viewer engagement and entertainment, but also substance.

Audiences are already familiar with Superman’s exemplary physical strength and superhuman powers but it is the non-physical strengths he displays that are most interesting. Superman (referred to as Clark Kent and Kal-El in the film) displays significant psychological strength (character strength). If he were to take the VIA Survey of strengths, it is likely his signature strengths would be

Continue reading… »

4 Ways to Improve Yourself by Watching “The Voice”

By Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D

The Voice is arguably the hottest program on television today. Why is the show so successful? How can you benefit from watching it?

Part of the answer to both questions can be found in findings drawn from the science of positive psychology. This scientific domain examines the research behind what makes us happy, strong, healthy, and successful. The Voice does an exemplary job at bringing some of the research findings to life. Here are four examples:

Continue reading… »

Strengths + Passion = Happiness

By Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D

Work happiness
I enjoy bringing my strengths to my work. I express my curiosity as I open up each new e-mail message, I express hope as I help clients work through struggles, and I express love (warmth and genuineness) with my colleagues as we discuss new ideas and process daily work happenings. This fills me with a greater passion and commitment to my work.

How about you? Do you express your highest character strengths each day at your job?

The research has been clear:

Continue reading… »

The Boston Bombings and Other Tragedies Bring Out Our Character Strengths

By Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D

globe with hands
Following the bombings in Boston, people rallied in bunches, offering support and care. The Red Cross received so much help they had to turn people away. Stories of bravery and kindness flooded the news and social media. Such expression of character is not an isolated event. People similarly rallied after 9/11, after recent natural disasters, and after tragic mass shootings.

Said another way, people are touched by the suffering of others and then take action. This action involves the expression of their own character strengths (e.g., kindness, leadership, bravery) to bring benefit to others.

Research has documented how tragedy seems to elevate what is best in us.

Continue reading… »

The Dark Side of Character

By Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D

Please Don't Go

[Spoiler alert: Please be forewarned that I reveal some key plot developments of the popular novel, Gone Girl]

As I read Gillian Flynn’s bestselling book, Gone Girl, I was not expecting to learn much about positive psychology but instead to learn more about what is often discussed in regard to this book – the mind of the psychopath.

Continue reading… »

5 Practices for Effective Strengths-Spotting (Part 2 – Self)

By Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D


What are your strengths?

What is best about you?

What qualities make up who you are?

Too many times in my work as a clinical psychologist these questions would be met by blank stares from the person in front of me. And, when the question was answered at all, the response was something vague like “I like baseball” or “I’m good at cooking.” This is consistent with survey research that has found that 2/3 of people do not have a meaningful awareness of their strengths.

Continue reading… »

Strengths-Spotting Your Way to Happiness (Part 1)

By Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D

Strengths-spotting is one of the best, initial activities that deepens our understanding of our strengths and the strengths of others.

There are 2 general levels to strengths-spotting:

Continue reading… »

7 New Strategies for Happiness in the New Year

By Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D

Just in time for 2013! Looking for a New Year’s resolution? Feeling a holiday lull? Wanting to increase your happiness?

New research from the science of positive psychology has found a number of practical exercises you can do to boost your happiness and decrease your depression.

Choose one of the following 7 exercises and practice it for 1 week:

Continue reading… »

Positive Education Using Strengths

By Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D

Imagine this conversation between you and your child, who has just come home from school:

“Mommy, mommy, guess what?”

“What, sweetheart?”

“I used bravery and perseverance today!”

“You did?”

“Yeah, our teacher gave us a really hard project today in science class. At first I was scared and didn’t want to do it but then I decided to use my strengths.”

“What did you do?”

“I used my bravery to start working on the project and then I just keep going and going until it was done. And my teacher gave me a gold star for working so hard!”

Continue reading… »


Subscribe to this Blog: Feed

Recent Comments
  • http://list.Ly: I have read a few excellent stuff here. Definitely price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how...
  • You are so awesome! I don’t suppose I have read through anything like this before. So...
  • Judy Krings: Hi, Ryan, What an upbeat article to arrive during the holidays. Many thanks. Love the applications, too....
  • Eric: Great blog post! have you thought of any other principles since the post?
  • Ryan M. Niemiec, Psy.D: Thanks Alison, and coming from you – an expert in working with babies and parents, it...
Subscribe to Our Weekly Newsletter

Find a Therapist
Enter ZIP or postal code

Users Online: 12240
Join Us Now!