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Signature Strengths and Life Satisfaction: Zest

August 1, 2011

Introduction

 

A recent Moxie Mavericks article discussed how expression of the character strength of hope is linked to finding pleasure, engagement, and meaning in life. In this article we look at how the character strength of zest similarly contributes to life satisfaction.

 

Zest as a Strength

 

Zest is directly related to physical and psychological wellness. This strength has the strongest ties to overall life satisfaction and a life of engagement. It contributes to courage—the will to identify and accomplish goals in the face of opposition, whether external or internal.

 

 

Definition: Vitality, enthusiasm, vigor, energy; approaching life with excitement and energy; not doing things halfway or halfheartedly; living life as an adventure; feeling alive and activated.

 

How to Increase Your Use of Zest

  • Improve and maintain your physical health.

  • Cultivate optimism and hope.

  • Create good social relationships outside of work.

  • Cultivate savoring and gratitude.

  • Write/talk about how zest contributes to pleasure, engagement, and meaning in your life.

  • Write/talk about someone who is a paragon of zest to you. Who is it? How does this person model this strength? What effect does it have on you?

 

Look for upcoming articles on other character strengths most powerfully linked to life satisfaction.

 

Further Explore Your Strengths

 

Get your Strengths Profile and three coaching sessions: Access your strengths inventory, discover your motivations, and test new strategies.

 

References

 

Linley, P. A., Nielsen, K. M., Gillett, R., & Biswas-Diener, R. (2010). Using signature strengths in pursuit of goals: Effects on goal progress, need satisfaction, and well-being, and implications for coaching psychologists. International Coaching Psychology Review, 5(1), 6-15.

 

Niemiec, R., (2009) VIA Intensive: Strengths: Character Strengths and Virtues in Practice. Cincinnati: VIA Institute on Character.

 

Park, N., Peterson, C., & Ruch, W. (2009). Orientations to happiness and life satisfaction in twenty-seven nations. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 4(4), 273-279.

 

Peterson, C., Park, N., Hall, N., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2009). Zest and work. Journal of Organizational Behavior, 30, 161-172.

 

Peterson, C., Ruch, W., Beermann, U., Park, N., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2007). Strengths of character, orientations to happiness, and life satisfaction. Journal of Positive Psychology, 2(3), 149-156.

 

Peterson, C., & Seligman, M. E. P. (2004) Character Strengths and Virtues: A Handbook and Classification. New York: Oxford University Press.

 

Seligman, M. E. P., Steen, T. A., Park, N., Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60, 410-421.

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