Happiness. What if we could eliminate the guesswork and get right down to real results?

No power of positive thinking. No wishy-washy self-help stuff. No (more) screaming affirmations at ourselves in the shower.

I’m talking rigorously tested, empirically proven, scientifically grounded, evidence-based conclusions.

Positive psychology (the science of happiness) is the foundation for many of the ideas I’ve shared on Sensophy.

And this week, we’re diggin’ back into our roots to give you something solid that you can use to build 2014 into the greatest year of your life.

I got an email from from the VIA Institute on Character which I thought you may dig.

Here’s to growing more in 2014 than we ever have before.

Enjoy!

-Jacob

Research shows that the five VIA character strengths most highly related to life satisfaction are hope, zest, gratitude, curiosity and love. As the holidays approach and 2013 comes to a close, let’s focus on specific interventions to boost each of these character strengths and end this year with a BANG!

Activity to Boost Hope

Take a moment to think about the upcoming year and imagine your best possible self coming forward. You are engaging in activities that are pleasing and you are working towards goals that are important to you. After you get a clear image, write out the details. Writing about your best possible self helps to create a logical structure for the future and can help you move from the realm of foggy ideas to concrete, real possibilities.

Activity to Boost Zest

Get active! Engaging in physical exercise has been shown to increase energy levels and improve endurance. All you need is 30 minutes a day and you will notice a difference in your spirit and vitality. Pick a physical activity that sounds fun to you, such as ice-skating, hiking, touch football, skiing, etc. and do it! You will be boosting your strength of zest AND improving your physical and psychological wellness.

Activity to Boost Gratitude

Schedule a gratitude visit. Think of a person to whom you are very grateful, but you have not properly thanked. Reflect on how you have positively benefited from their actions and then write them a letter expressing your gratitude. Call the person on the phone or arrange to meet them in person and read the letter aloud to them. The experience will be rewarding for you and the other person!

Activity to Boost Curiosity

Think of an activity that you dislike, such as washing dishes, paying bills, or folding laundry. Next time you are engaging in the unpopular activity focus on 3 novel or unexpected features of the action. For instance, if your low-interest activity is dish-washing, maybe focus on the smell of the soap, the heaviness of the pot, and the warmth of the sudsy water. Can you find one thing surprising about this humdrum activity?

Activity to Boost Love

Engage in loving-kindness meditation. Find a comfortable space to sit quietly and practice wishing yourself and others happiness and peace. Maybe you decide to recite phrases of contentment and good fortune, such as “may I be strong and healthy” or “may my sister find happiness and love”. This type of meditation can make us feel more connected to others around us and increase the VIA character strength of love.

When (now) do you think would be the best time to do this?!

There’s no better time than NOW to rock one of these. And the overwhelming chances are that you WON’T do this unless you rock it right now.

So go ahead. Pick an exercise and do it right now in the comments. Looking forward to connecting with them!

 

YO YO!
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