Wellbeing and character strengths

If you are reading this you are concerned about wellbeing, and fortunately we know much more about this than we did.

People who specialise in positive psychology have researched this topic and identified qualities which make us stronger. We can't stop bad things happening, but we can reinforce the qualities which build us.

Resilience is the key factor. The more resilient we are, the more we weather storms. They describe resilience in terms which ressemble physical fitness. We may never become Olympic athletes, but we can increase our fitness by exercising regularly. 

They discuss key ingredients of resilience.

I will start off by working through character strengths, which come under the heading of values.

They have identified six values which are important across all cultures and all religions, including those with no religion. Development of these values strengthens people. The six values, in no particular order, are Wisdom and Knowledge, Transcendence, Humanity, Courage, Temperance and Justice. The values encompass character strengths, or moral strengths. This kind of language seems almost old-fashioned: a person of character. Yet it is known that these strengths contribute to mental wellbeing.

The Viacharacter site has classified the 24 strengths under the virtues or values. Great product.

I have devised a questionnaire for use with 10 to in year olds - an adaptation of Seligman's own quiz, to make the questions more child-friendly.

However before administering the questionnaire to your students, it is vital for the teacher to identify their own strengths and be proud of them.  This page will link you to the adult questionnaire.


There are other ingredients for wellbeing and resilience and they will be added later.


Donaldson, Csikszentmihalyi and Nakamura (2011) Applied Positive Psychology. Psychology Press

Lopez and Snyder. (2009). The Oxford Handbook pf Positive Psychology. OUP