Positive psychologists Chris Peterson and Martin Seligman have identified 24 strengths which can be seen as character traits. All of these strengths can be developed. A great deal of research has gone into looking into these strengths and how they can benefit happiness and wellbeing. Seligman suggests that we identify our signature strengths (our top strengths) and use these regularly in our lives. You can do this by visiting either the Authentic Happiness website or the VIA Institute on Character website and completing the VIA Signature Strengths questionnaire. Using your signature strengths will feel effortless as they are part of who you are.
Carrying out tasks and activities that provide you with opportunities to exercise your strengths are sure to make you feel good and give you more flow experiences. Consciously using these strengths will move you away from engaging in passive activities so frequently (eg watching television).
The 24 strengths have been divided into groups of six distinct virtues:
I have written six separate articles, for easier viewing. Each article discusses the strengths belonging to that virtue and offers a tip to help you nurture that particular strength.
You can also read more about these strengths in Peterson and Seligman’s book: Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification.