- Teamwork: Working well in a group. Displaying loyalty and responsibility to support the group and do your share.
- Fairness: Treating everyone fairly and justly without letting personal feelings bias your decisions.
- Leadership: Encouraging a group to get things done. Organizing and following through. Fostering good relations among members.
When we have a sense of self that allows us to interact appropriate with the world and other people we have a functional personality. Some forms of mental illness can skew the thought process so it interferes with how we deal with others. People with personality disorders may abuse drugs, may have lots of ups and downs in relationships, may have trouble making friends, may be isolated. There are many different kinds of disorders, but its important to know that it is possible to overcome them.
1 AnswerIn positive psychology, the virtue of justice is associated with social or civic strengths that help bolster a healthy community. Strengths associated with justice include:
1 AnswerIn positive psychology, the virtue of humanity is associated with interpersonal strengths that help you befriend others and tend to your relationships. Strengths associated with humanity include:
- Social or emotional intelligence: Being aware of your motives and feelings and those of others. Knowing how to fit into various social situations. Recognizing what makes other people tick.
- Love: Having the capacity to give and receive love. Valuing and maintaining close relationships with people.
- Kindness: Nurturing and caring for others. Showing generosity, compassion, altruism, and simple niceness.
1 AnswerIn positive psychology, the virtue of courage is associated with strengths of will that help you accomplish goals in the face of fear and internal or external obstacles. Strengths associated with courage include:
- Integrity: Speaking the truth, acting sincerely, and presenting yourself in an authentic way (without pretense). Taking responsibility for your feelings and actions.
- Bravery: Speaking and acting for what you believe despite opposition. Not shrinking from challenges (physical or not), difficulties, threats, or pain.
- Persistence: Finishing what you start even in the face of resistance. Displaying perseverance and industriousness.
- Vitality: Entering life fully, wholeheartedly, with enthusiasm and energy.
1 AnswerIn positive psychology, the virtue of wisdom is associated with intellectual strengths that help you gain and use information.
Strengths associated with wisdom include:
- Creativity: Using the imagination to develop original ideas and objects. These may be in the artistic realm but can also involve inventive solutions to practical problems.
- Curiosity: Being fascinated by and eager to learn about a wide variety of topics. Exploring and having new experiences.
- Open-mindedness: Fairly examining issues from all sides without being influenced by preconceptions. Being willing to change your mind in light of new evidence.
- Love of learning: Adding systematically to your knowledge and thereby mastering new skills and subjects.
- Perspective: Being able to provide wise counsel to others. Possessing ways of looking at the world that make sense to yourself and others.
1 AnswerA primary focus of positive psychology is to help people identify and build on their unique strong points. Experts are working to understand and describe character strengths as clearly as psychology has, in the past, studied the qualities that make people unhappy or unable to function. For example, the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), long considered the bible of psychiatry, describes and categorizes mental disorders and problematic behavior patterns. As a counterpart, positive psychologists have published a professional handbook jokingly called the "un-DSM" to describe and categorize positive traits. Both books are works in progress that change along with professional opinion and unfolding scientific research.
Beyond emphasizing the positive, the positive psychology movement asserts that it is legitimate for psychologists to examine strengths and virtues as part of what could be called "moral character." Previously, psychologists studying personality traits considered moral character best left to philosophers, deeming it too value-laden and subjective for psychological research. Freudian psychoanalysts were willing to look at strengths and often saw these as defenses against unconscious negative motivations such as aggression and sexuality. The problem, says University of Pennsylvania psychologist Martin Seligman, is that there is no evidence that this is true.
In contrast, positive psychologists argue that happiness and fulfillment are as real as distress and disease, and that individual strengths and virtues are as important for psychologists to examine as are individual problems. Manifesting your strengths, they say, is one avenue to greater happiness.
Under the auspices of the VIA Institute on Character, Christopher Peterson (the institute's scientific director) and Martin Seligman undertook a mammoth categorization project with the assistance of a large group of scholars and practitioners. They began by combing the philosophical and religious literature in search of qualities that were prized across many cultures and in different eras, found in both young and old people, able to be cultivated, and believed to lead to fulfillment in life. The idea was to identify qualities that are not primarily valued as a means to another end, or considered to be inborn talents such as intelligence or perfect pitch. Seligman and Peterson published their handbook Character Strengths and Virtues to identify these strengths.
1 AnswerThere is intriguing preliminary evidence that positive psychology techniques, in addition to preparing you for the ups and downs of life, can be valuable in times of stress, grief, or other difficulties. Here are some examples:
Gratitude. People dealing with an unpleasant emotional memory were given one of three writing assignments: write something neutral, write about the unpleasant event, or write about positive consequences from the event that they could be grateful for. In results published in The Journal of Positive Psychology, those who focused on gratitude in their writing gained more closure on the incident, had fewer intrusive memories of the event, and had less emotionally fraught memories, compared with participants whose writing did not focus on gratitude.
Strengths. In a Veterans Affairs psychiatric rehabilitation program, patients were given the opportunity to take the 240-question VIA survey and receive a printout of their five signature strengths. The clinicians reported in the journal Psychiatric Services that participants felt pride in their discoveries, had a sense of accomplishment, and improved their mood just by taking the inventory.
Savoring pleasure. Positive reminiscence is not only pleasurable, it helps people gain a new perspective on current problems. In a study from the Netherlands, when depressed older adults used the tool of positive reminiscence, they not only thought more positively about their past but also began to evaluate themselves, their social relationships, and their future more positively.
Flow. When you're fully engaged in activities, you are less preoccupied by mundane thoughts. In addition, flow experiences can lessen more disturbing thoughts. In a study published in The British Journal of Occupational Therapy, women living with cancer had fewer intrusive thoughts about their illness and reduced stress when they had flow experiences while creating artwork.
Meaning. In a study of patients who've had heart attacks, those who blamed their heart attack on others were more likely to have a second attack in the next eight years. People who perceived some benefit in their experience were less likely to have a recurrence.
Mindfulness. For three decades, mindfulness-based stress reduction programs (first developed at the University of Massachusetts Medical School) have helped reduce physical and psychological symptoms in people facing a variety of challenges, including cancer and chronic pain.
1 AnswerUsing positive psychology techniques can help you develop the resilience to handle difficulties more easily. If you develop the habit of counting your blessings, for example, you may be better able to appreciate the good in your life that remains even after a change in circumstances like a job loss or a death. Greater engagement in hobbies or nature and good relationships with family and friends can be sources of support in difficult times. In addition, knowing your strengths, another tenet of positive psychology, can help you develop realistic goals when your life changes. And helping others, even when you are struggling, can increase your positive feelings and help you gain perspective.
1 AnswerWhile some people come by self-compassion naturally, others have to learn it. Luckily, it is a learnable skill. Several methods have been proposed, and training programs are being developed.
Harvard psychologist Christopher Germer, in his book The Mindful Path to Self-Compassion, suggests that there are five ways to bring self-compassion into your life: physically, mentally, emotionally, relationally, and spiritually. He and other experts in the field have proposed a wide variety of ways to help foster self-compassion. Here are a few:
Comfort your body. Eat something healthy. Lie down and rest your body. Massage your own neck, feet, or hands. Take a walk. Anything you can do to improve how you feel physically gives you a dose of self-compassion.
Write a letter to yourself. Describe a situation that caused you to feel pain (a breakup with a lover, a job loss, a poorly received presentation). Write a letter to yourself describing the situation without blaming anyone. Nurture your feelings.
Give yourself encouragement. Think of what you would say to a good friend if the same thing had happened to him or her. Direct these compassionate responses toward yourself when the pain feels stronger.
Practice mindfulness (awareness and acceptance of your present experience). Self-compassion adds another dimension to the acceptance of ourselves while we're in pain.
1 AnswerResearchers investigated whether self-compassionate people were more compassionate toward others. As it turns out, they were not. In fact, the research suggested that people who are self-critical are often more likely to be compassionate toward others and to subvert their own needs to the needs of others or acquiesce to others' demands. People who are self-compassionate, on the other hand, tend to find a compromise with others without fully subverting their own needs.
1 AnswerResearch has revealed a number of benefits of self-compassion. Lower levels of anxiety and depression have been observed in people with higher self-compassion, Kristin Neff, associate professor of human development at the University of Texas, Austin says. Self-compassionate people recognize that they are suffering and are kind to themselves at these times, thereby lowering their anxiety and depression.
According to Neff, another benefit is greater wisdom and emotional intelligence, suggesting that self-compassion is a wise way to deal with stress and other difficulties in life. Several types of well-being have been documented to be associated with self-compassion, including feelings of social connection and life satisfaction. Some research suggests that self-compassionate people experience more happiness, optimism, curiosity, and positive attitude compared with people who are less self-compassionate.
In terms of motivation, self-compassionate people have been found to aim just as high as others but with the recognition that they may not always reach their goals. Self-compassionate people display less self-handicapping behavior, such as procrastination, than those who lack self-compassion. And they are motivated to learn and grow but are not as concerned with performance goals or the desire to enhance self-esteem. "Thus self-compassionate people are motivated to achieve, but for intrinsic reasons, not because they want to garner social approval," Neff asserts.
Behaviors that foster better health may also be linked to self-compassion, including the motivation to control weight and quit smoking.
Even interpersonal relationships may benefit from self-compassion. In one study, the partners of self-compassionate people described them as being more emotionally connected, accepting, and supporting of autonomy. They were also described as less detached, controlling, and verbally or physically aggressive than those who were less self-compassionate.