In this episode, Emiliya Zhivotovskaya, CEO & Founder of The Flourishing Center,
Episode 84: Flourishing Friday: STRENGTH SPOTTING AND ACTS OF KINDNESS
Flourishing Friday (FF)-Welcome to Flourishing Fridays (FF), where every Friday we bring you a Positive Psychology-based life hack that will help you flourish. In these episodes, we look at the real-life application of Positive Psychology while giving you tips and strategies to put Positive Psychology into use in all areas of your life.
Today’s podcast is about how you can take two research-based interventions for improving your well-being and combine them into one. Performing an act of kindness and spotting strengths
Research shows that performing acts of kindness for others boosts the giver’s well-being as much as it promotes the recipient’s well-being, if not more.
Sometimes, the mere thought of performing an act of kindness is enough to boost our happiness and well-being by giving us a dose of positivity.
The reason being is that for most of us when we imagine ourselves doing something, our brain and body respond as though we’re doing it, and imagining doing it, we put ourselves in the shoes of the person about to receive it.
The second intervention is about noticing strengths. One of the pillars of positive psychology is taking a strengths approach. We’re not just trying to shore up weaknesses – we want to recognize and build the positive.
Character strengths are a great place to start. Unlike physical strength, which might be measured by how much you can lift or carry, or emotional strength, which we refer to as emotional intelligence, your ability to notice, name and navigate your emotions, character strengths refer to the strengths of our moral qualities that are unique to us.
My little pneumonic for character strengths is that we want to know, show and grow strengths within ourselves, and in others, we want to spot, savor, and celebrate them.
If you’re not familiar with character strengths, I encourage you to take the free online questionnaire to learn what your top strengths are at www.viasurvey.com.
My top strengths are zest, gratitude, love and the capacity to be loved, hope and curiosity.
It’s great to know your top strengths because you can search for opportunities to use them. If I’m feeling a little down or off, I know that expressing gratitude is not just an important well-being practice. It’s also putting my natural strength into action.
Getting familiar with words that describe strengths helps you have these words handy to spot them in others.
It brings us to today’s Flourishing Friday – Life Hack. You are improving your well-being by spotting strengths in others. It is both an act of kindness and using character strengths.
There are many ways of spotting strengths in the people we care about, and simply thinking about who in your life you can do this with may start to give you a boost of well-being. So let’s do this exercise together.
First, think of some people that you care about. This exercise can be done live or digitally by sending someone a text message, voice memo. Then, spot their strength, help them savor it by stretching it out with details and celebrate them.
My best friend is returning to work in a new normal today after over a year of being in person with her clients. I knew she was stressed out about it. She was going to be commuting to different sites throughout the day, and the new protocols were going to require a lot of endurance from her that she hasn’t
I sent her a message celebrating her strengths of persistence and perseverance, as well as her zest and humor.
Again, taking the time to construct the message is part of the well-being boost of this exercise. It’s so easy for all of us to be stuck in the me-centred universe of our day. In doing this exercise, I pulled myself out of me-centred space.
I put myself in her shoes in my mind. Imagined what she was going through. I thought about all the fantastic things that I know about her, her strengths, what makes her unique, and so special to me. All that filled my heart with positivity. Then I constructed the message to her.
I wrote, “Hi love, I Just wanted to remind you of what a fierce human being you are and how much I celebrate your perseverance in rolling up your sleeves and stepping up to the challenge. I know you’re using your strength of humor and zest to bring joy to people today. I love you!
In taking the time to construct the message, unconsciously, I thought about what it would be like for her to receive the message and what would land with her—again, getting me out of my self for a short period, feeling what she might feel, and then surrendering it.
I know if just super dissected a simple process, all to encourage you to try it out. So much goodness can happen.
Here is a simple strength spotting and savoring starter sentence. (Say that five times fast). The key to savoring is the details that elongate and stretch it out.
When you ___, I see you using your strength of ___, and it __.
<When you handled that stressful conversation with such grace, I see you using your strength of emotional intelligence, and it inspires me.