When I am at play with my 2-year-old son, I realize how precious time is and so I attempt to be as present and mindful as possible in each activity. This mindfulness spurs my strength of curiosity as I await each word and reaction from him. Curiosity brings me to want to express other strengths such as humor/playfulness to make him laugh. Not wanting to overdo my goofy humor over and over, my mindfulness increases to tune in closely to him and the other possible character strengths that might benefit him, such as love as I provide him with positive feedback, teamwork as we work together on building blocks, or zest as we jump into an upbeat activity together.
Hence, round and round mindfulness and character strengths go – each influencing the other in a positive way. This is a virtuous circle.
Until recently, mindfulness and strengths have been treated as separate areas of practice and research. My argument is that these robust areas of well-being are inseparable.
What follows is my rationale for why it is beneficial to integrate these areas. Mindfulness can help your strengths practice and strengths of character can help your mindfulness practice.
Here’s a micro-look at what appears to be going on when we integrate these areas:
1) Provides mindfulness practitioners a common language to capture positive states and traits, many of which are organic outcomes of mindfulness.
2) Offers individuals who practice mindfulness a way to deal with the vexing obstacles and barriers that naturally emerge during mindfulness practices (e.g., mind wandering).