Current research suggests that people have more life satisfaction and a greater sense of well-being when they use their best character strengths while people who are unhappy tend to focus on their weaknesses, creating even more unhappiness.

What Are Character Strengths?

Martin Seligman and Chris Peterson classified character strengths based on virtues that are valued regardless of culture, race, or religious differences.

Classifications Examples
Wisdom & Knowledge Creativity, Curiosity, Judgment, Love of Learning, and Perspective
Courage Bravery, Perseverance, Honesty, and Zest
Humanity Love, Kindness, and Social Intelligence
Justice Teamwork, Fairness, and Leadership
Temperance Forgiveness, Humility, Prudence, and Self-Regulation or Control
Transcendence Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence, Gratitude, Hope, Humor, and Spirituality (Faith, Purpose)


You may not have thought of them as character strengths until now, but while reading through the table, you likely identified strongly with one or more of the descriptions.

When you’re in a situation that let you use your natural strengths, you value the experience more. In fact, you value yourself more during and after the experience.

A 2011 study done by Wood, Linley, Maltby, Kashdan, and Hurling concluded that using your personal strengths results in greater self-esteem, vitality, positive affect, and less stress over the course of time.

Another study by Seligman, Steen, Park, and Peterson demonstrated that using signature character strengths in a new way each day resulted in greater happiness and less depression with the effects lasting for at least six months after the study ended.

Take our Character Strengths Test


If you want to learn which your five top character strengths are, please visit my web site and take a simple free test which will reveal what are the strengths that you need to use more frequently in your daily life in order to be happier.