Using your character strengths can lead to a boost in happiness. Many scientific studies have shown this. But, sometimes clarity is needed on what strengths are and how to use them.
Below are the 24 strengths found to be universal (cross-cultural) and within human beings. Each of these is an internal quality you have the potential to develop. For each strength, I’ve provided a very simple phrase that captures the essence of the strength.
As a self-development intervention, memorize 3 of these phrases. Keep them in mind as you go about your daily life. Monitor what happens for you, and for others. DON’T use them blindly without mindfulness, but DO use them widely and often.
*Do things in a different way.
*Ask questions, lots of them.
*Examine the details.
*Learn something from every situation.
*Offer good advice.
*Face what you are afraid of.
*Don’t give up.
*Tell people the truth, (almost) all the time.
*When in doubt, take action!
*Be a warm and strong listener.
*Be helpful, err toward caring.
*Work side-by-side with others.
*Treat people the way you want to be treated.
*Organize activities for others.
*Let it go.
*Place attention on others.
*Think before you act.
*Manage your feelings.
*Find beauty in nature, art, ideas, and people.
*Tell people “thank you,” often.
*Be positive, especially when others are not.
*Laugh a lot, with others.
*Look for what is sacred in this moment.
For additional examples on using each strength, check out this popular “New Ways to Happiness” article on Psychology Today, and go to the international hub for all-things-strengths at the character strengths tab of the VIA website.