Home » Blogs » Adventures in Positive Psychology » 5 Character Traits to Increase Life-satisfaction

5 Character Traits to Increase Life-satisfaction

One of my favorite contributions of positive psychology is the classification system to help people uncover their strengths as human beings.

Christopher Peterson and Martin Seligman are the two researchers whom created the ‘Values in Action Inventory of Strengths’ (VIA-IS), which consists of 6 virtues and 24 character strengths.

If you take the survey it will provide you with your top 5 signature strengths, along with other strengths in order from strongest to weakest. The more you are able to use your strengths in daily life the more fulfilled and happy you will be.

The 5 strengths below are adapted from the survey and may not be your most valued characteristics, but I wanted to offer a general group that provides a good overall approach to thriving and flourishing in life.

Work to enhance these 5 traits and you will find more life-satisfaction.

Gratitude – Making it a habit to appreciate what you have has been shown to be a very effect way to increase life-satisfaction. One infamous exercise is to write a letter of gratitude to someone, and then deliver and read it to them personally.

Being aware of and thankful for the good things that happen to us are a wonderful way to bring a more positive perspective into your life.

Ability to love and be loved – The Beatles said it exactly right, “All you need is love.” In order to be a thriving human being we need to experience love. This includes love in our intimate relationships, and even a general sense of loving-kindness toward the world around us. The more love we experience the better.

Invest in the value of close relations with others, in particular those in which sharing and caring are reciprocated.

Curiosity – A curious approach to life opens up so many opportunities to learn and grow, and can help us find more moments of inspiration and wonder. If you’re not naturally curious, how can you begin to take interest in general experiences you have?

There is always something we can learn and discover if we’re willing to explore and be open to new ideas.

Zest for Life – Think about those mornings where you wake up excited and encouraged for the day ahead. What was causing you to feel this way? A zest for life is about approaching life with excitement and energy; feeling alive and activated.

Living with a sense of vitality and enthusiasm will make it more likely we can find meaning, joy, and amusement in every situation. Not to mention that our positive energy may be reciprocated by others.

Spirituality – An overall way that can make life more inspiring and profound is to develop our level of spiritually. Someone with a clear sense of spirituality has coherent beliefs about the higher purpose, meaning of life, and the meaning of the universe.

Spiritual individuals have strong faith and can weather life’s storms by finding meaning within loss, and keeping hope for a bright future.

The VIA-IS can be taken for free at, a site run by the VIA institute. You need to register and then the site will save your results so you can always revisit and check your strengths.

Photo credit: Samael Kreutz

5 Character Traits to Increase Life-satisfaction

Joe Wilner

Joe Wilner is a life coach, licensed clinical psychotherapist (LCP), and drummer from the band Yes You Are. He is also creator of You Have a Calling, a blog and online community helping people discover and pursue their life’s work and mission. Through deep and personalized coaching, he helps ambitious, creative, and spiritually minded individuals make a greater impact, grow as leaders, and design a soulful life they are inspired by.

2 comments: View Comments / Leave a Comment



APA Reference
Wilner, J. (2011). 5 Character Traits to Increase Life-satisfaction. Psych Central. Retrieved on September 27, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Apr 2011
Statement of review: Psych Central does not review the content that appears in our blog network ( prior to publication. All opinions expressed herein are exclusively those of the author alone, and do not reflect the views of the editorial staff or management of Psych Central. Published on All rights reserved.