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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.

I have a fondness for the southeastern Asian country of Bhutan, as they promote and foster their Gross National Happiness instead of their gross national product. Therefore, I was excited recently when I learned that my Alma Mater, Naropa University, has formed a partnership with the Royal University of Bhutan.
The partnership formed in response to the Bhutanese leaders’ concern for their young people. Ever since 1999, when television and the Internet were introduced to Bhutan, the country has been flooded with consumerism in a way they have previously never experienced. Naropa is now working to help bring contemplative psychology practices to Bhutan at the Royal University of Bhutan and at many schools, in order to help school counselors learn these techniques.
I find it interesting that a country that has existed happily for a very long time, now that commercialism has arrived in full-force, is seeking mindfulness based practices to help reestablish balance for their people. It is a powerful reminder that, as positive psychology research shows, while the “stuff” and circumstances of our lives are convenient, our thoughts and our actions are the keys to bringing us happiness.

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