Your Personal Advent Calendar Days 4-6 (Vitality)



Ok, it’s Friday and you’ve had a busy week (or year) so you may not be in touch with one of your 24 character strengths: vitality.  However, it’s definitely in there somewhere and you now have a whole weekend to rediscover it.

When you are accessing your vitality, you feel alive and full of zest.  You show enthusiasm for any and all activities and tend to infectiously energise others.

Vitality helps you feel fully functioning and self-realised. It represents an active inner force that facilitates mental and physical health and performance.

It’s linked to good physical health and bodily functioning as well as freedom from fatigue and illness.

There are lots of ways to increase your vitality; here are 3 simple, yet scientifically validated ones:

  1. Increase your relatedness to others:
    Nursing home residents who had a greater number of different social contacts had significantly higher levels of vitality (Kasser and Ryan, 1999).
  2. Get outside:
    Contact with nature increases vitality (Bernstein and Ryan, 2001)
  3. Exercise:
    Moderate exercise (such as a brisk 10 minute walk) tends to increase energy and decrease tension for up to 2 hours after the exercise has been completed (Thayer, 1986).
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Your Personal Advent Calendar Day 3 (Krapp and Fink)

love of Learning

So we’ve found out over the last 2 days that creativity and curiosity help you live longer and reach your potential.  Next:

Advent Window 3: your third strength is Love of Learning

Now I always thought that Krapp and Fink was what I do each morning after breakfast (too crude?) but they are actually leading scientific researchers in the field of learning.

They have articulated how, when you leverage your love of learning, you readily engage with new information and skills – either generally or on areas of particular interest.  You do this for the sake of learning, even though it may or may not lead to an immediate benefit.  This means that, over time, you are able to develop deep knowledge and make substantial contributions to help others’ learning.

Developing your love of learning means you’re more likely to experience positive emotions and flow, one of the highest performance states.

Likewise you are more likely to feel autonomous and challenged; have a sense of possibility; be resourceful; feel self-efficacious and feel supported by others in their efforts to learn.

Love of Learning helps you persist in the face of setbacks, satisfies curiosity, creates enjoyment  and imbues a sense of competence and efficacy.

Makes you Fink, eh?

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The science of staying power

Sustaining peak performance

Francesca Schiavone’s recent victory power battle over Svetlana Kuznetsova in the French Open was hailed as a gladiatorial marathon.

In tennis terms, it lasted almost, wait for it, four hours.  Now, I’m not dissing the achievement and, of course, I would have been begging for a lemon barley water and a sleep after the first ten minutes but what is interesting to me is the contrast between concepts of sustaining peak performance in elite sports people and business leaders.

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Top tip: a no-brainer solution to creating positive habits

Clients tell us that, whilst they know logically what they need to do to create positive change, actually doing it is a different matter. For example, they know that they need to make 60 calls a day in order to build their business but, when it comes to it, they manage to occupy themselves with all sorts of diversionary activities to avoid picking up the phone!

Positive habits are hard to establish – we resist doing what we know we need to, and indeed want to, because it feels uncomfortable or hard. But not moving beyond the resistance keeps us stuck in a rut. As Steven Pressfield – author and guru of the ways in which people sabotage their own success – says: “Most of us have two lives: the life we lived and the life we could have lived. Between the two stands resistance.”
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