Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Training character strengths makes you happy

14.06.2012
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, René 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.
Further reading:

René T. Proyer, Willibald Ruch and Claudia Buschor. Testing strengths-based interventions: A preliminary study on the effectiveness of a program targeting curiosity, gratitude, hope, humor, and zest for enhancing life satisfaction. Journal of Happiness Studies (in press). doi:10.1007/s10902-012-9331-9

Contacts:

Prof. Dr. Willibald Ruch
Personality and Assessment
Department of Psychology
University of Zurich
Tel.: +41 (0)44 635 75 20
E-Mail: w.ruch@psychologie.uzh.ch
Dr. René Proyer
Personality and Assessment
Department of Psychology
University of Zurich
Tel.: +41 (0)44 635 75 24
E-Mail: r.proyer@psychologie.uzh.ch%20

Participants sought for follow-up study

While the study just completed had a broader focus, the individual strengths are to be explored in a follow-up project. A new training program is scheduled to start shortly, for which participants are still needed.

The participants need to set about 10 to 15 minutes per evening aside for a week and be willing to complete some regular online questionnaires to enable changes in their sense of wellbeing to be observed.

Those who complete the full program will receive individual feedback on his or her character strengths and possible changes during the study.

Those who complete the full program will receive individual feedback on his or her character strengths and possible changes during the study. Participation in the program takes place at home via an online program and is free.

Information, contact and registration: www.staerkentraining.ch

Beat Müller | Universität Zürich
Further information:
http://www.staerkentraining.ch
http://www.uzh.ch

Further reports about: character strengths enthusiasm life satisfaction personality

More articles from Social Sciences:

nachricht Lying in a foreign language is easier
19.07.2018 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Engineering cooperation
05.07.2018 | Institute of Science and Technology Austria

All articles from Social Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Future electronic components to be printed like newspapers

A new manufacturing technique uses a process similar to newspaper printing to form smoother and more flexible metals for making ultrafast electronic devices.

The low-cost process, developed by Purdue University researchers, combines tools already used in industry for manufacturing metals on a large scale, but uses...

Im Focus: First evidence on the source of extragalactic particles

For the first time ever, scientists have determined the cosmic origin of highest-energy neutrinos. A research group led by IceCube scientist Elisa Resconi, spokesperson of the Collaborative Research Center SFB1258 at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), provides an important piece of evidence that the particles detected by the IceCube neutrino telescope at the South Pole originate from a galaxy four billion light-years away from Earth.

To rule out other origins with certainty, the team led by neutrino physicist Elisa Resconi from the Technical University of Munich and multi-wavelength...

Im Focus: Magnetic vortices: Two independent magnetic skyrmion phases discovered in a single material

For the first time a team of researchers have discovered two different phases of magnetic skyrmions in a single material. Physicists of the Technical Universities of Munich and Dresden and the University of Cologne can now better study and understand the properties of these magnetic structures, which are important for both basic research and applications.

Whirlpools are an everyday experience in a bath tub: When the water is drained a circular vortex is formed. Typically, such whirls are rather stable. Similar...

Im Focus: Breaking the bond: To take part or not?

Physicists working with Roland Wester at the University of Innsbruck have investigated if and how chemical reactions can be influenced by targeted vibrational excitation of the reactants. They were able to demonstrate that excitation with a laser beam does not affect the efficiency of a chemical exchange reaction and that the excited molecular group acts only as a spectator in the reaction.

A frequently used reaction in organic chemistry is nucleophilic substitution. It plays, for example, an important role in in the synthesis of new chemical...

Im Focus: New 2D Spectroscopy Methods

Optical spectroscopy allows investigating the energy structure and dynamic properties of complex quantum systems. Researchers from the University of Würzburg present two new approaches of coherent two-dimensional spectroscopy.

"Put an excitation into the system and observe how it evolves." According to physicist Professor Tobias Brixner, this is the credo of optical spectroscopy....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

Leading experts in Diabetes, Metabolism and Biomedical Engineering discuss Precision Medicine

13.07.2018 | Event News

Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP: Fine Tuning for Surfaces

12.07.2018 | Event News

11th European Wood-based Panel Symposium 2018: Meeting point for the wood-based materials industry

03.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

A smart safe rechargeable zinc ion battery based on sol-gel transition electrolytes

20.07.2018 | Power and Electrical Engineering

Reversing cause and effect is no trouble for quantum computers

20.07.2018 | Information Technology

Princeton-UPenn research team finds physics treasure hidden in a wallpaper pattern

20.07.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>