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Archive for the ‘VIA Inventory of Character Strengths’ category

Positive Psychology focuses on helping individuals cultivate their signature strengths. You can discover yours by taking the VIA Signature Strengths self-assessment. Why  discover your signature strengths? When your signature strengths are developed and cultivated, you can develop a greater sense of self and accomplishment.

The VIA Signature Strengths Survey identifies 24 strengths. Two of these include Citizenship and Teamwork; and Fairness, Equality and Justice. If either of these are your signature strengths, here are some ways that you may want to cultivate these strengths:

To cultivate Citizenship and Teamwork:

  • Be socially responsible. Join events or rallies, speak publicly, and promote humanitarianism.
  • Volunteer at a community project, or pick up litter on the ground.
  • Actively participate in an organization you are part of.
  • Join in a neighborhood activity.

To cultivate Fairness, Equality and Justice:

  • Hear out another’s opinion without prejudice or pre-judgment
  • Be conscious of moments where you can stereotype or judge someone, and start to avoid those circumstances
  • Be the mediator in an argument between friends and set your personal beliefs aside for the time being.

For support and more information on how you can cultivate your Signature Strengths, contact Deborah Barnett at

The VIA survey of character strengths identifies 24 signature strengths. Most people have one or two top signature strengths. When these top strengths are identified and utilized, this can help a person experience greater confidence and a have a sense of purpose and meaning.

Courage is a virtue that can be cultivated by practicing the strengths of Integrity and Valour.

Integrity is the ability to tell the truth, or to appear in an authentic manner and to act in a sincere way. To cultivate Integrity:

  1. Speak the truth.
  2. Live your life authentically and in harmony with your values.
  3. Practice being transparent – that is to act and speak in a way that consistently represents who you are, no matter what circumstance you are in or with whom you keep company.
  4. Make a list of people you feel are genuine, think about the characteristics you most like and admire about them and emulate these characteristics.

Valour or Bravery is living without recoiling from difficulty or shirking fear.
To cultivate Valour/Bravery:

  1. Dare to speak your truth, what you truly believe in, even if it is not the popular, prevalent, opinion of others.
  2. Avoid engaging in procrastination, as procrastination often appears when we want to avoid an uncomfortable situation.
  3. Psychologically, Valour can be practiced by not emotionally collapsing when a friend or loved one is experiencing pain, but instead being able to be present, calm and supportive.
  4.  historic person to think of who practiced valour is Florence Nightingale, who tended wounded soldiers during the Crimean War. 

Feel free to contact me with questions about your strengths and ways to creatively use them.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counselling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for effectively and Positively navigating life’s challenges.

Feeling stressed out? Here is a way to gain greater control of your life.

The Values-In-Action (VIA) Survey of Character Strengths identifies character strengths that we all have within us. Once you are aware of your unique strengths, by taking the VIA Character Strength Survey,  you can actively cultivate your personal character strengths. Benefits of doing so include increased self-esteem, sense of life mastery and greater fulfilment. Two of the 24 strengths on the survey are Judgment, Critical Thinking and Open-Mindedness; and Creativity, Ingenuity and Originality. If these are two of your strengths, here are some ways in which they can be cultivated.

To cultivate Judgment, Critical Thinking and Open-Mindedness:

•    Join multi-cultural celebrations or events. This develops a positive self-perception through increased knowledge of diverse histories, groups and cultures, and their respective contributions to the society.

•    Be neutral in a situation. Hear out both side’s issue without your own personal biases.

•    Participate in other religions’ or spiritual philosophies’ gatherings and events. Try to build fellowship with other believers. You may also try joining a political party that is different from your own.

•    Take a new class or take up a new hobby or sport.

•    Watch shows that you usually do not watch.

•    Invite a colleague that you know has different ideas from your own to lunch.

•    Ask yourself each day about a certain thing you strongly believe in and critique it. Find out more information on the topic to learn even more. .  .

To cultivate Creativity, Ingenuity and Originality:

•    Accept that you are a creative person.  When faced with a task, ask yourself, “What is the most creative way in which I can approach this task?” try to use spare time during the day to write a short poem, draw a simple picture or write in your journal.

•    Rearrange your house, room, dormitory, apartment, office or work place. Move a piece of furniture to a new place.  Try to shuffle the things to improve your disposition and mood.

•    Compose a literary work and publish it in a magazine or newspaper, or the very least post it as a blog.

•    Discover a new word daily, know its meaning, and use it with creativity.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counselling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for creating positive, powerful results in your life.

Feeling hopeless or helpless? That you don’t have any control over your life? You can begin to feel more in control by utilizing one or more of your specific character strengths. You can take the Values-In-Action (VIA) Survey of Character Strengths to identify your individual strengths, and then by utilizing one or more of your strengths, feel more empowered.

Among the character strengths included in the VIA Survey are Social Intelligence and Perspective. Social Intelligence can also be termed as emotional or personal intelligence. It is described as the ability to be aware of the motivations and emotions of others and knowing what to do to adapt to diverse social circumstances. Perspective could also be viewed as “Wisdom”. It is an ability to see different points of view.

Here are some ways to cultivate each of these strengths:

To cultivate Social Intelligence:

  • Try to meet a new person every day.
  • Talk to someone at a gathering you might never expect to talk to.
  • Get involved in more social events.
  • Reach out to people who appear to be alone.
  • When conversing with someone, ask questions to understand what makes them happy and why they enjoy their particular interests and passions.

To cultivate Perspective:

  • Study a great quote everyday from great thinkers, writers, and philosophers.
  • Try listening to the opinion of someone with whom you do not entirely agree and stretch yourself to understand why they might have the stance that they have.
  • Educate yourself about historic people – their values, beliefs and their stand on prominent issues.
  • Have a mentor, someone you deem as a wise person, as a role model you can learn from.

Feel free to contact me with questions about your strengths and ways to creatively use them.

Deborah Barnett, Ph.D.
Positive Psychology counselling in Asheville, NC and Phone Consulting for Effectively and Positively navigating life’s challenges.