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The Choice is Yours

Written by 10:40 am People Focus

Choose Strengths

The Choice is Yours

As we look around us it seems as though the world is falling apart. A virus is ripping through humanity, economies are failing, stock markets are crashing, people are losing their jobs and we are all stuck at home with very little control of what is happening.

Conventional wisdom would suggest that if all of this wasn’t happening, we would all be so much happier. But, here’s the shocker: Research into happiness has shown that our environment and circumstances have a very small impact on happiness levels. Yes, we are living in exceptional times and so the circumstantial and environmental impact may be greater at the moment. However, we have more control over our wellbeing, happiness and resilience than what you might imagine. Research into happiness suggests that our environment and circumstances only have a +/- 10% impact on levels of happiness, while our choices, actions, perspectives etc. have a +/- 40% impact. The great thing about this is that this means you are more in control of how you feel than you realise.

Your thoughts perspectives, actions, choices etc are all in your control and that means you can either empower or victimise yourself. It may seem as though so much is beyond your control, but there is more that is actually in your control. Choose to focus on what is in your control, rather than what is not. Choose to focus on the good; chose to focus on what you can do; choose to create while the virus destroys: build something, write a song or a novel, plant a garden, paint, bake, play and instrument; choose to be kind, choose to have empathy, choose to connect with people. The choice is yours and it is in your control.

A great way to take control is to use your strengths and find new and novel ways of using them during uncertain times. Research has shown that using your strengths and finding creative ways to use them can increase happiness and reduce depressive symptoms. Focusing on the things that you are good at, and that energise you, will help you to reframe the situation and feel more in control in these uncertain times.

You can find out what your strengths are by taking the VIA Character Strengths Survey. This is the only free, scientifically validated survey in the world. Your top 5 strengths are called your Character Strengths. My challenge to you is: How can you use these strengths in our current situation and how are you going to use them to pull you through this difficult time.

Some suggestions on how to use your strengths:

Gratitude: Start a gratitude journal expressing three things that you are grateful for each day.

Kindness: How about committing to doing a kind act for someone every day of lockdown. This could be making someone a cup of tea or sending a message to someone, doing shopping for a vulnerable person

Love of Learning: Start a new course, learn something new. A lot of online platforms are offering free lessons and courses.

Appreciation of Beauty: Start a beauty log. When you believe you are experiencing something beautiful, whether it is from nature, is human-made (e.g. artwork) or is the virtuous behaviour be it log it.

Humour: Write down three funny things that happened today.

Spirituality: Start, or maintain, a daily spiritual practice of prayer, meditation or reading a sacred text. Showing compassion to the less fortunate or engage in charitable giving.

Tags: , , , Last modified: April 7, 2020
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