Personal Strengths

Remembering our own personal strengths — the attributes and skills that help us to grow and adapt — is important to mental health. A strength-based perspective believes that everyone, with support, has the ability to take control of their own lives. 

Petersen and Seligman identified 24 strengths and 6 virtues, which are said to be cross-cultural. Below is a list of those strengths and virtues. Think about which strengths you have, and then think about how you can use your strengths on your own journey to wellness. 

One pen-and-paper exercise that can help you do this is to look at the list of strengths and arrange them into your own personal description of strenghths. Divide these strengths into 5 categories, according to how much you think the strengths are like you: 

  • Identify 3 strengths as "really like me"
  • Identify 5 strengths as "a lot like me" 
  • Identify 8 strenghts as "somewhat like me"
  • Identify 5 strengths as "a little like me"
  • Identify 3 strengths as "least like me" 

Reflect on your strengths and the way you've arranged them. You can try some more exercises on identifying your strengths here

Strengths and Virtues

Wisdom and Knowledge: Acquiring and using knowledge 

  • Creativity
  • Open-mindedness
  • Perspective
  • Love of learning
  • Curiosity

Courage: Accomplishing goals

  • Bravery
  • Persistence
  • Integrity
  • Vitality 

Humanity: Tending and befriending others 

  • Love
  • Kindness
  • Social intelligence 

Justice: Building a healthy community 

  • Citizenship
  • Fairness
  • Leadership

Temperance: Protecting against excess 

  • Forgiveness & mercy
  • Humility
  • Prudence
  • Self-control

Transcendence: Forging connections and finding meaning 

  • Appreciation of beauty
  • Gratitude
  • Hope