Have you ever used “Character Strengths”?
I came across and article yesterday that I just had to share with you. It talked about using “mindfulness” which I’ve talked about before here on the blog. Being in the here and now and realistic thinking. This article also talked about using the strategy of “Character Strengths”.Although the article speaks about a middle aged man it is not set in stone for what age you are. My philosophy is that anything is worth a try and instead of thinking about “What if this doesn’t work” imagine “what if it does”. I have been doing this both for myself and my children without even realizing it. Take a look at the article and if you’ve used this concept I encourage you to share your experience with us. Enjoy!
Mindfulness and Strengths for Anxiety
By RYAN M. NIEMIEC, PSY.D
A few years ago, I worked with a middle-aged man (I’ll call him “Jim”) who was legally blind and suffered from social anxiety disorder (social phobia). Jim also experienced panic attacks. He wanted to learn to manage his anxiety better and to not have to take his anti-anxiety pills.
One day I asked Jim: “How did you make it here today?”
“The usual way – by bus,” he said. “Actually, 2 buses, a little bit of biking, and a lot of walking.”
“And what was that like for you to do today?”
“It was fine…I felt fine. Nothing remarkable.”
“Wow, Jim…Most people would be terrified to live in the darkness that you live in as a partially blind man. Yet, you go about your day taking buses, walking down busy streets, trying to improve yourself with therapy, volunteering at local agencies….and you successfully face the challenge of riding a bike despite limited vision. What courage you have! What perseverance!”
My client was stunned. He was not accustomed to seeing himself as a person with strengths. Even more foreign to him was having actual strength labels assigned to him (he was much more familiar with his identity as a “panic disordered social phobic who drinks too much”). This was an “ah-ha moment” for Jim – not an uncommon experience for clients who experience a “strengths reframe.”
Here are 3 character strengths tips that helped Jim move through his anxiety with mindfulness:
Curiosity: Research has found that curiosity and social anxiety are incompatible. Curiosity opens your attention and anxiety narrows it. So it is likely that if you can increase your curiosity at the right time, this will help you manage your anxiety.
Tip: Be curious about your anxiety. Take notice of what you are not seeing (what is your “tunnel vision” preventing you from seeing?). When anxiety arises, instead of taking an approach of, “Oh no, not again!” consider saying, “That’s interesting. I wonder what’s going on here?”
Read the full article
Originally posted at our sister site “Raising Socially Anxious Children Blog“