– Melody Beattie
There is an excellent article in The Scientific American – Which Character Strengths are Most Predictive of Well-Being? The article written by Scott Barry Kaufman was posted by Lisa Sansom on a Positive Psychology site I follow. In the article, Kaufman explores Which character strengths are most predictive of well-being? In his book Flourish, Martin Seligman, the founder of the field of positive psychology, argued that the five fundamental elements of well-being are:
- P – Positive Emotion
- E – Engagement
- R – Positive Relationships
- M – Meaning
- A – Accomplishment
I’ve written about PERMA in previous posts.
In his study, Kaufman discovered that all five elements of PERMA were very strongly correlated with each other. People who tended to score higher on one of the elements (e.g., positive emotions) tended to score higher on the other elements (e.g., engagement, positive relationships, meaning, and accomplishment) and those who tended to score lower on one of the elements also tended to score lower on the others.
That makes sense, but which of the 24 Character Strengths is most likely to lead to well-being? In case you are not familiar with the 24 Character Strenghts, here is a chart:
You can get to know your character strengths by taking the VIA Survey.
Know Your Character PotentialYou have many different types of strengths. These can be skills, talents, interests or resources; however these strengths do not reflect the “real” you— who you are at your core. Only by understanding your character strengths can you know how special and capable you really are. Character strengths are the personality characteristics that make you authentic, unique and feel engaged.
The VIA Survey of character strengths is a simple test that takes just a few minutes of your time and provides a wealth of information to help you understand your core characteristics. Created under the direction of Dr. Martin Seligman, the “father of Positive Psychology” and author of Authentic Happiness and Flourish, and Dr. Christopher Peterson, distinguished scientist at the University of Michigan and author of A Primer in Positive Psychology, this self-assessment character survey is regarded as a central tool of positive psychology and has been used in hundreds of research studies and taken by over 2.6 million people in over 190 countries. It is the only free, scientifically validated online character strengths tool available.
It’s well worth the time to take the survey and learn more about what makes you feel engaged.
Back to Kaufman’s study – he found that the top three character strengths that were most strongly correlated with well-being were:
Hope, Gratitude, and Love
But that The single best predictor of well-being was gratitude.
So if you do seek well-being, (and honestly, who doesn’t?) your best bet is gratitude.
I’ll close with a longer video, lasting almost an hour, but an excellent look at these strengths, called A Character Strengths Revolution.
If you take the Signature Strength test, I’d love to hear about your experience. And let me know what you thought of the video. Positive Psychology is a popular topic on YouTube – there are several videos to choose between.
As always, thank you for visiting my blog. I appreciate it.