Stress has a way of eroding self-confidence and it’s at times like this we need to remind ourselves of the things that buffer its effects. Our mental wellbeing is enhanced and supported in a number of ways. A work ethic, honesty, diligence, social contacts, religious faith and optimism are all ways of building resilience. Yet, there will always be times when we are tested and these are the moments when a reminder of the good times, the very best times, can lift the spirits.
We know that people who are able to work using one or more of their personal strengths are happier and enjoy more success in their lives than people who can’t. You may work your socks off doing a job you enjoy and come home feeling tired but happy. The same can’t be said for employment that is dull and unfulfilling. You’ll come home feeling shattered even if you’ve done very little.
People who truly invest in their strengths will tend to seek opportunities to use them. One of the problems we typically endure is our focus on perceived weaknesses over strengths. If our focus is on weak points or those moments that made us cringe with embarrassment, the most we can ever achieve is satisfaction that we’ve made it through the day by not exhibiting weakness. What a drab and unsatisfactory way to live a life. Wouldn’t it be better to live in a way where no limits are set and all we can do is develop and fulfill our potential?
I see only benefits in reminding ourselves of those peak moments in our lives when things really worked out for us. We should ask ourselves what was it about those times that made us feel so good? Couldn’t we apply those moments, those strengths, to new situations or even new careers? But it doesn’t need to be about the future. If you’re under stress now maybe it’s worth thinking how those strengths could be applied to addressing the problems. After all, effective problem solving is often about applying our strengths to such situations in order to reduce the stress they evoke.
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Jerry Kennard, Ph.D., is a chartered psychologist and associate fellow of the British Psychological Society. Jerry’s clinical background is in mental health and, most recently, higher education. He is the author of various self-help books and is co-founder of positivityguides.net.