When you use your inborn character strengths in a new way, you will have increased happiness and decreased depression according to a report by Gander, Proyer, Ruch & Wyss, 2012.
The most prevalent character strengths in human beings in descending order are kindness, fairness, honesty, gratitude, judgment (Park, Peterson, & Seligman, 2006).
For the next 5 blogs, I am going to discuss each one of the above prevalent character strengths.
The first will be:
“Remember, if you ever need a helping hand, you will find one at the end of each of your arms. As you grow older, you will discover that you have two hands; one for helping yourself, and the other for helping others.” Audrey Hepburn
There is also the belief that kindness makes you happy ….. and happiness makes you kind.
To reinforce your character strength of Empathy in showing kindness you could:
1. Visit someone in the hospital.
It is possible that you don’t know a relative or someone close to you that is in the hospital. This would be a time to pause and be thankful that this is true and say a prayer for those that are hospitalized.
2. Do a random act of kindness for someone.
“Practice Random Acts of Kindness and senseless less acts of Beauty” This phrase may have been coined by Anne Herbert, who claims to have written it on a place mat in restaurant in Sausalito around 1982.
We have been amazed and moved by the heroic acts of our citizens when there is a tragedy. Our innate goodness kicks in and we run forward to aid those in need. I heard one of those heroes’s say that she felt like a salmon swimming upstream because a lot of the confused people were running from the tragedy.
3. Say kinder words to the people around you.
This is when, “Think before you speak,” is a good rule to follow.
“If only our mouths were made out of glass, then we would be more thoughtful of what we say.”
Words can hurt and once it has been said, you can never take it back. You can apologize and hope the receiver has a forgiving heart.
4. Share your belongings with others (e.g., clean out your garage and closets and get those items to a local charity.)
“It is not how much we give, but how much love we put into the giving.”
If you have not used a household item or clothing in a year, give it up and let someone else enjoy it.
5. Greet others with a smile.
You have heard the saying, “Smile, it makes the person you meet curious about what you have been up to.”
I walk in the park every day. I try to smile at everyone I meet. It really
irritates me when the approaching person does not smile back, (I know,
it is a Southern custom,) so I created a game, to see how many would smile
back, it is amazing how many more would smile when I was thinking
positively and most likely smiling inside at my little game.
6. Give an unexpected small but meaningful gift to others.
It is the unexpected gift that means so much. Don’t wait for a birthday,
holiday or anniversary to give a gift or say “thank you.”
7. Open or hold the door for someone.
It seems like such a small gesture, but it means you care, especially to
those of us who are getting older and those heavy doors are sometimes
hard for us to pull open.
8. Say “please” and “thank you” and really mean it.
9. Be a considerate driver.
Let the other driver move in front of you. They may be the person that needed you kindness, and it only cost you a few minutes.
10. Listen with your ears and eyes. Look at the other person with interest.
Active listen skills are considered to be the foundation of effective communication. Developing active effective listening as a habit requires looking the other person in the eye and acting as if what they are saying is very important.
Joci James, Strength Finder Detective
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