Character Strengths

Mindfulness and Character Strengths: Training #2 (True Happiness)

Perhaps nobody has brought more clarity to how mindfulness can manifest in our daily lives than Thich Nhat Hanh.

Thich Nhat Hanh offers five mindfulness trainings that help individuals bring more depth, purpose and meaning into their lives.

Keep in mind:

These are mindfulness trainings not mindfulness commandments. The idea is to move toward the training and to practice the training as an ongoing process, not something to be perfectly achieved.
The practice of the mindfulness trainings is for everyone to enjoy.
For a full description of the Five Mindfulness Trainings, click here.

This blog entry focuses on the second mindfulness training, called True Happiness. It begins:

Character Strengths

Mental Health: Thinking, Feeling & Acting From Your Strengths

What does curiosity feel like?
What does bravery think like?
What does humility look like?

Mental health is about thinking, feeling and behaving in healthy ways. We can improve our mental health by widening the way we use our strengths of character. Each of our character strengths –creativity, judgment, zest, teamwork, hope – are actually capacities for thinking, feeling and behaving.

We spend a lot of our waking moments being consumed with negative thoughts – how we didn’t measure up, pondering a mistake we made, or worrying about a conflict that is arising.

We spend a fair amount of time being upset with painful emotions such as anger, sadness, guilt and anxiety. Why not balance our negativity with healthy thoughts and positive feelings? We can turn to our strengths to help.

Character Strengths

A Mother’s Day Challenge

Holidays are catalysts for character strengths.

Each holiday poses a special opportunity to awaken us from our slumber and activate one or more strengths.  It seems that in the U.S., the culture collectively turns its attention to a particular strength each holiday. Consider the following:

Thanksgiving – gratitude
Christmas/Hanukkah – kindness/generosity and for some, spirituality
Easter (i.e., the weeks leading up to it) – self-regulation
4th of July – zest
New Years Day – hope

What about Mother’s Day? Many strengths are great contenders on this holiday. However, it is unlikely that any can topple the importance of love.

Character Strengths

Weight Management: Strengths and Mindfulness are Missing Pieces to the Puzzle

What are the ingredients of successful weight loss?

What have you been missing or not considering?

There are plenty of quick fixes for weight loss. Just about any weight loss program, diet, or trick will work. Yes, it’s true. But this is temporary. The vast majority of individuals gain their weight back – and often they become heavier than their original weight.

By far, the biggest challenge in losing weight is maintenance. Keeping weight off is quite simply the elephant in the room. Not enough programs and experts talk about this.

Character Strengths

Strengths of the Heart & Mind and Other Strengths Topics

“I’ve taken a strengths test, now what do I do?”

“I work with employees (or students or clients) and I want to help them tap into their strengths, what’s the next step?”

These are the most common questions the VIA Institute receives about strengths from people around the world. The VIA Institute has taken so many steps to thoroughly answer these questions that they are becoming moot. VIA offers a staggering amount of resources on strengths:

Character Strengths

Can Character Strengths Save Your Life?

I recently watched the reenactment of a story of a young man, Dave, who decided he would impress a group of friends by swimming across a Florida canal to a pier and back. Dave’s friends were gathered at a cottage home, celebrating a recent college graduation. They were busy reminiscing, telling stories from their recent past and speculating where they might find themselves a year or two from now.

When Dave suggested he would dive in and swim to the pier, the friends softly resisted but they knew that once Dave got an idea in his head he refused to give it up; it was already a foregone conclusion.

The problem is he went for a swim in water that was teeming with alligators.

Character Strengths

Re-discover Happiness with Laughter and Humor

I used to lead a laughter group a few times a year for clients at a psychotherapy clinic. The group was interactive and educational. The purpose was to highlight the therapeutic benefits of laughter. Participants were encouraged to bring jokes, funny stories, and come dressed in costume. There was one main rule: You have to laugh. Laughter was not an option, it was a requirement!
This rule helped participants to feel relaxed and comfortable. It released the social pressure of worrying whether someone would laugh at their jokes and funny stories.