“Happiness quite unshared can scarcely be called happiness; it has no taste.” ~ Charlotte Brontë
I am taking a four week class with the VIA Institute on Character. The VIA Institute is one of the leaders in the field of positive psychology and in interpreting and using the results of the VIA Survey to help individuals, teams and organizations understand and align their personal character strengths to their highest and best use.
In my class we are learning how to use the VIA PRO report and how to apply some of the most recent research around effectively using signature character strengths. One piece of research that I have been especially interested to learn about was how capitalizing on a positive event increases its impact.*
What exactly does capitalizing on a positive event mean?
When people share the news of a positive event with others or celebrate the event in some way, they experience greater positive affect—that is capitalizing on a positive event. Similarly, other research has found that when people savor a positive event they experience greater well-being. And when we share in a partner’s success we experience more relationship satisfaction.
What do you do when things go right? We know what works when things go wrong: Social support relieves stress and close relationships help us cope with negative events. But what about when things go right? This is a piece of the puzzle that until recently has been overlooked. It turns out that sharing the positives also creates a kind of social support that is as helpful as it is in negative events.
How sharing a positive event enhances your well-being:
- When you share, you retell, which is an opportunity to relive and reexperience the positive event.
- When you retell, you rehearse and elaborate, which prolongs and enhances the experience and makes it more present in our minds.
- When rehearsed, we remember events more positively than events that we haven’t talked about.
- Sharing fosters positive social interactions, which are reinforcing in and of themselves.
- The response others give when good news is shared boosts self-esteem because we experience that others are pleased.
Coaching Questions to Ask Yourself:
Who can you share a positive event with? Who can you ask to share a positive event with you where you appreciatively listen to their share? At work can you support your team in sharing their positive personal or professional events? How can you savor a positive event? How can you share in your partner’s successes?
If you would you to take the VIA PRO or be coached on how to apply your strengths at work and in your life, contact Dr. Lynn K. Jones for a free exploratory session.
P.S. Since everything is better shared, please share this blog link with your friends!
Dr. Lynn K. Jones is a Board Certified Coach and an Advanced Certified Personal and Executive Coach based in Santa Barbara, California and a sought after coach and consultant for organizations and individuals across the US. Her doctoral work completed at the Wurzweiler School of Social Work, Yeshiva University concerned organizational culture; she coaches, consults and trains organizations on what they need to do to create organizational cultures that are aligned with their vision and values using a process of Appreciative Inquiry. She coaches individuals on achieving their reflected best selves. A MSW@USC faculty member, Dr. Lynn K. Jones, MSW, DSW, CSWM, teaches Human Behavior and Social Environment and Leadership to social work students at the University of Southern California.
*Research for this blog post can be found in the article by Gable, Impett, Reis, Asher, “What do you do when things go right? The intrapersonal and Interpersonal benefits of sharing positive events,” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 2004.
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