How to Be Emotional Strong - Tap Into Your Strengths of Character

Today, with the many changes in the economy, the loss of jobs, and the challenges of the weather, it is easy to become anxious and depressed.  The next series of posts look at the importance of cultivating your resources for staying emotionally strong by accessing your character strengths. I like the character strengths because they have stood the test of time and have been consistently valued by all cultures and traditions over the centuries.  In the past life was much more difficult than today.  For example, our grandparents a generation ago had no cell phones, no computers, and no internet.  We have many more resources for resilience than we had before.  Here are three ways that tapping into your character strengths can help you stay strong.  The first post looks at the ways character strengths help you appreciate a more positive view of yourself.  Then in we will look at how it helps to build your relationships with others and to contribute to a greater purpose than yourself.

The character strengths help you move beyond your negative views of yourself.  If you yourself anxious and depressed the character strengths help you to remember you are also much more.  You are a person.  Often the negative is associated with labels as alcoholic, anxious, and depressed. Categorically labeling is a tool that humans use to deal with the complexity of our environments.  Sometimes they are used as a benchmark to see if we meet an established norm.  This is helpful and adaptive, but also can contribute to negative stereotyping.  Indeed, researchers discovered that labels actually influence what we see and how we react to people and how we respond. 

When we tap into our character strengths we balance out our challenges with the positive, and tap into our forces for resilience and growth. When we focus on the negative, our perspective constricts.  Often these views are established in childhood and at an earlier time.  Young children’s minds, because of their biological maturity, are not able to fully appreciate the complexity of the stresses imposed upon them.  As a consequence children often falsely blame themselves for situations that are beyond their control.  When you use your strengths it helps to look at these feelings from a broader more mature perspective. Then you can use your maturity to transform the negative. 

Your strengths then help you to tap into your resilience and capacity for development and growth.  In my work, as much as possible I access strengths as well as problems.  I have discovered that when accessing strengths people show much more resilience and are much more able to find effective solutions.

To Your Success,

Dr. Alice