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Want a Better Life? Research Says, Start Here

By Kelly Aluise

Do a quick audit of your life right now by asking yourself some questions, such as:

  • Am I happy?
  • Do I reach the goals I set for myself?
  • How strong and healthy are my relationships?

Regardless of your answers, research shows you have the capacity for more… more happiness, more meaning, more success. You can build what positive psychology experts call “the good life”—a life that focuses on well-being and flourishing.

Oftentimes, the hardest part of personal growth is getting started. Where do you begin? In traditional psychology, you’d start by defining a problem and then look for ways to solve it.

Positive psychology is different. It offers an alternative to typical deficit-based approaches by exploring what’s working well for you and enhancing those qualities and experiences. To help you put this into action, Dr. Ryan Niemiec, VIA’s Education Director and one of the world’s leaders on character strengths, teaches a foundational course on the benefits of exploring your unique strengths.

Start with Strengths focuses on amplifying the good in yourself, your life and those around you. With strategies like mindful strengths use, strengths spotting and using your strengths in new ways, you’ll discover effective ways to improve your health, happiness and relationships. Here’s how.


The research-based VIA Survey reveals your unique list of character strengths. But, knowing your strengths is just the beginning. When you mindfully use your strengths you connect them to all of your daily actions, behaviors and interactions. You recognize that it’s your strength of love that thoughtfully prepares your kids’ lunches, your prudence that gets you to work on time, and your self-regulation that chooses the healthy snack option.

Each session in the Start with Strengths course explores new opportunities for you to mindfully use your strengths. It helps you appreciate the wonderful qualities you bring to the world on a daily basis. When you’re clear about how you contribute positively to those around you, you’re more confident and less likely to compare yourself to others.

Also, for customized reading to go along with the course, choose the Start with Strengths + Total 24 Report package and get a detailed report describing the best parts of your personality. By using the personalized report alongside the course, you will have access to both your unique combination of strengths and guidance on how to apply these strengths at home, at work and in relationships.


Every person has a biological need to be “seen” for who they are. Strengths-spotting involves consciously looking for the 24 character strengths in others’ behaviors, and verbally acknowledging appreciation for the strength. After all, receiving a compliment feels good, right? You can continually give this gift to others.

When your co-worker shares a good idea, recognize their perspective and creativity. Did your child try a new food or experience? Commend them for their bravery.

Labeling the character strength gives the person new insight into their action, and expressing appreciation allows the person to feel that their character strengths matter (Niemiec, 2018).

Want more practice? Start with Strengths dives deep into strengths-spotting and how to counteract your natural negativity bias by priming yourself to look for strengths in those around you. Quick tip: try this activity for a few days and watch how positively people respond to you.


It’s easy to get comfortable in a familiar routine. Sometimes trying new things can seem difficult or overwhelming. But according to science, people who find new ways to use their strengths throughout their day are happier and less depressed (Seligman, et al. 2005).

Using your best qualities in novel ways allows you to discover different parts of yourself and what you are capable of. Not only does it boost confidence and courage, but it also creates new memories to reflect on and savor.

In Start with Strengths, you’ll discover how easy and fun it is to use your strengths in new ways throughout your day. Once you start, you won’t be able to stop!


The power is within you. You can choose to look at negatives and weaknesses or you can Start with Strengths. And the best part? You can start now. The course is on-demand, so all of the materials are available to you immediately upon purchase.

Enjoy learning about all the ways you make a positive impact on the world!

Reach Your Greatest Potential

In our Start with Strengths course you will learn guiding principles to apply your strengths to create your best life! Discover how your strengths can help you increase happiness, boost relationships, improve work engagement, manage stress and health, find meaning and accomplish your goals. Get started today.


Niemiec, R. M. (2018). Character strengths interventions: A field-guide for practitioners. Boston: Hogrefe.

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