It is hard to believe that the start of the school year is just around the corner, and PEN is busy gearing up for programs that support this year’s theme, 2017 – A Year of Strength!

PEN believes in helping people build on their strengths, rather than focusing on their flaws. When you focus on your strengths, you think things like, “What do I do particularly well?”, “What can I add to this conversation?” , or “What could I do differently to get different results?”  While it can be easy to get sucked into what is not working, there is a growing body of research showing that focusing on strengths results in more productivity and greater overall health.

There are many benefits to focusing on your strengths. You are more likely to: 

  • Be happy – People who focus on their strengths are less likely to suffer from depression, and more likely to report high levels of vitality and general feelings of happiness.
  • See the good in others – Learning to acknowledge your own strengths will help you recognize and acknowledge others strengths. Plus, research shows that pointing out your child’s strengths helps them build resilience.
  • Feel confident – Acknowledging your strengths will help you see mistakes as opportunities to learn. You will be able to look inside yourself for the “grit” that you need to get through things.
  • Experience less stress – The characteristics people use to describe their strengths are the very things that act as buffers to hardship. Characteristics like being kind, emotionally intelligent, altruistic, etc. make you more likely to bounce back from stress.
  • Have more energy –  acknowledging the positive takes less energy than dwelling on the negative. This leaves you with more energy to engage in healthy behaviors such as living an active lifestyle, eating well, and generally taking better care of yourself.
  • Be satisfied with your work and family – Being satisfied with who you are equates to satisfaction at home and at work. You are more likely to either enjoy your job, or pursue a new job that satisfies you. You are also more likely to be proactive and focus on solving problems that arise at home.

Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology said, “For a person to be truly happy and live a meaningful life, that person must recognize their personal strengths and use these strengths for the greater good.” If you haven’t taken the time to name your strengths as a parent, I urge you to think of at least 5 things you do well, and how they could play out in your parenting.

Want to share? PEN is collecting family strengths to feature on our website and encourage you to share them with us.  PLEASE tag your posts #5strengthsPEN on our Facebook page and Instagram account @parentengagementnetwork !

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