Evidence That It Works
In a study, participants tried using a personal strength each day for one week. Compared with those who didn’t try to use a strength—instead they wrote about early memories every day for a week—those who identified and used their strengths reported an increase in happiness and a decrease in symptoms of depression immediately after the one-week experiment, and those changes persisted six months later.
Why Does It Matter?
The teaching profession often involves a great deal of self-criticism that can stem from a bombed lesson, a hard-to-reach student, an angry parent or colleague, or one of the other many challenges faced by educators on a daily basis. Thus, we often give our weaknesses and limitations more attention than our strengths. But research suggests that thinking about personal strengths can increase our happiness and reduce depression.
While we shouldn’t ignore our shortcomings, reflecting on our strengths can help remind us that we do have important positive qualities, and this reminder can build our confidence and self-esteem—and, in turn, increase happiness.