Easily 20% of the patients I see struggle with psychological issues. Sometimes it is simple grief from the death of a loved one. Sometimes they come in complaining of physical problems but the source is their unemployment or caring for an ill parent. They have insomnia or irritable bowel syndrome or even chest pain. We hunt for the medical problems….sometimes they have them. Sometimes they are depressed or have anxiety. Some people can be too anxious to actually take anxiety medication. Fear is a powerful force. I spend so much time dissecting the negative that it was a wonderful discovery to come across an alternate way to categorize a person and how they function in their world.
Instead of looking at the possible diagnositic criteria, these researchers look at character traits. What is a person’s strength. What about a person’s “make up” gives them the capacity to not only survive but to thrive. It is one thing to identify fretfulness, anxiety, remorse, fear and hopelessness. But what about your creativity, sense of justice, love of learning, curiosity, mercifulness, courage and humanity. How often do people google the symptoms of depression? What about learning more about your OWN strengths. I registered and took the 240 question survey and learned my top 5 character strengths. I was actually surprised. Mostly, I was surprised at what ended up as my weakest strength. The questionnaire took about 15 minutes. Be curious. Register and take the survey.
My top strengths:
1. appreciation of beauty and excellence
2. honesty, authenticity and genuineness
4. creativity, ingenuity and originality
5. curiosity and interest in the world
I am troubled that my weak spot at #24 was forgiveness and mercy, but only barely behind caution and prudence.