Navigating Chronic Pain with Strength of Character

Do you know what your character strengths are?

By knowing our own character, both our strengths and weaknesses, and learning to apply them. we can live more fulfilling and enriching lives, and for those who live in Chronic Pain, they become tools…

we can rely upon to approach the many hurdles we face- physically, emotionally, mentally and socially.

Living in Chronic Pain can weaken us in many ways… Learning to build on the tenets of positive psychology, learning one’s own personal strengths and building upon them, can empower us, not only helping us to cope with our condition and better manage our pain (through knowledge of our patterns, ways of being, our characters) but can make our lives more worth living and gratifying. When you’re in pain all the time, who couldn’t use a little of all that?

The Character Strengths’ Test and Report

“The VIA Survey of Character Strengths is a simple self-assessment that takes less than 15 minutes and provides a wealth of information to help you understand your core characteristics….the VIA Survey focuses on your best qualities….It has been used in hundreds of research studies and taken by over 3 million people in over 190 countries resulting in better workplaces… schools… teams…LIVES the world over.”

If it sounds interesting to you can take the 10-15 minute survey and get a print-out report.

It is also revealing to compare your results over time and too, by category.

The VIA Institute and Positive Psychology

The VIA (a Latin term meaning “the way” ) Institute, a non-profit started in 2001 by, amongst others, Dr. Martin Seligman, one of the founding fathers of Positive Psychology, and Dr. Christopher Peterson was founded for the sole purpose of helping people reach their full potential and live better lives.

Positive Psychology differs from other branches of psychology as it was not devised to help solve problems or pathologies but rather to help you better achieve and live a happier, richer life.  It is focused on increasing well-being; well-being has to do with flow (being absorbed in one’s activities and happily engaged). It embraces mindfulness (being engaged with one’s immediate experience. Mindfulness is known to help reduce anxiety, depression and too, Chronic Pain), learned optimism (as opposed to learned helplessness-an unfortunate side effect of Chronic Pain) and the idea of “good work” which entails, amongst other things, doing a good job simply for the satisfaction, both for the individual and the group, of excellence.

The work of the VIA Institute is explained in a short 8-minute video here.

The VIA blog includes articles about how to put your character strengths to work for you, helping you to communicate with others utilizing your character strengths and simply be more enriched and enriching within your personal relationships and life in general. They also offer numerous courses to help you learn about your strengths and put them into effective, skilled use.

And finally, they have many additional resources available including inspirational quotes, movies and pintrest images as well as a basic handbook and books to expand your knowledge and use of character strengths.


Author: ChronicPainDailyReflections

I manage a web-site, Chronic Pain Daily, created for and in support of those living in chronic pain. The site helps with the day-to-day spiritual, mental, emotional and physical needs of those with constant pain, whatever its source.