Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Training character strengths makes you happy

Date:
June 14, 2012
Source:
University of Zurich
Summary:
Anyone who trains character strengths increases their sense of wellbeing, a large-scale study conducted by a team of psychologists from the University of Zurich has concluded. It proved for the first time that this kind of training works. The largest impact was evident in training the strengths “curiosity”, “gratitude”, “optimism”, “humor” and “enthusiasm”. 

Anyone who trains character strengths increases their sense of wellbeing, a large-scale study conducted by a team of psychologists from the University of Zurich has concluded. It proved for the first time that this kind of training works. The largest impact was evident in training the strengths "curiosity," "gratitude," "optimism," "humor" and "enthusiasm."

Character strengths can be defined as traits that are rated as morally positive. That they are positively linked to life satisfaction has already been shown in many studies. That they have a causal effect on life satisfaction and that practicing them triggers an increase in the sense of wellbeing, however, has now been proved by Willibald Ruch, Renι T. Proyer and Claudia Buschor from the Department of Personality and Assessment at the University of Zurich for the first time.

Practice pays off

For their current study, the team of researchers randomly divided a sample of 178 adults into three groups: While one group trained the strengths "curiosity," "gratitude," "optimism," "humor" and "enthusiasm" for a period of ten weeks, the second group worked with the strengths "appreciation of beauty," "creativity," "kindness," "love of learning" and "foresight." The third group served as a control and did not do any exercises. The authors of the study recorded three main results: There was particularly a significant increase in life satisfaction compared to the control group in the group that trained curiosity, gratitude, optimism, humor and enthusiasm. Compared to before they began the exercises, however, both groups benefited from the strength training.

"Anyone who trained one or more strengths reported an increase in their sense of wellbeing," concludes Willibald Ruch, a professor of personality psychology and diagnostics. "This manifested itself in the fact that these participants were more cheerful or more often in a good mood, for instance." The third finding was that people who learned to control their actions and feelings more effectively during the training period and developed more enthusiasm benefited most from the training.

The exercises consisted of activities that the test subjects could easily incorporate into their daily routine. For example, they practiced gratitude by writing a thank-you letter to someone who had played an important role in their lives and trained their appreciation of beauty by paying attention to moments and situations in which they felt admiration for something beautiful. This could be anything from people and things they liked to special abilities and talents of fellow human beings or moving gestures and actions.

Positive psychology and character strengths

Character strengths and their connection with wellbeing is an important research field in positive psychology. In recent years, a new direction has established itself under this umbrella that mainly focuses on researching positive traits and is aimed at discovering what makes life most worth living -- what constitutes life satisfaction, in other words. Positive psychology therefore focuses on topics that have long been neglected by psychology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Zurich. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Zurich. "Training character strengths makes you happy." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 June 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120614074940.htm>.
University of Zurich. (2012, June 14). Training character strengths makes you happy. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120614074940.htm
University of Zurich. "Training character strengths makes you happy." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/06/120614074940.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Mind & Brain News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Dieting At A Young Age Might Lead To Harmful Health Habits

Newsy (July 30, 2014) — Researchers say women who diet at a young age are at greater risk of developing harmful health habits, including eating disorders and alcohol abuse. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

It's Not Just Facebook: OKCupid Experiments With Users Too

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — If you've been looking for love online, there's a chance somebody has been looking at how you're looking. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

How Your Face Can Leave A Good Or Bad First Impression

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — Researchers have found certain facial features can make us seem more attractive or trustworthy. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Losing Sleep Leaves You Vulnerable To 'False Memories'

Newsy (July 27, 2014) — A new study shows sleep deprivation can make it harder for people to remember specific details of an event. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

    Environment News

    Technology News



      Save/Print:
      Share:  

      Free Subscriptions


      Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

      Get Social & Mobile


      Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

      Have Feedback?


      Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
      Mobile iPhone Android Web
      Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
      Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
      Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins