The current edition of the International Journal of Wellbeing features an article titled ‘Character Strengths and Inner Peace’, and is written by Lobna Cherif, Ryan Niemiec and Valerie Wood. Earlier this year I completed an eight-week Mindfulness-Based Strengths Practice course led by Dr. Ryan Niemiec, who is the long-term Director of the VIA Institute on Character. I found the course to be extremely engaging and meaningful.
The authors of this paper investigate their passion of supporting individuals to foster a sense of inner peace. They discuss cultural, religious, and psychological understandings of inner peace and suggest that it comprises the experience of an internal state of peacefulness and a sense of internal harmony.
This specific study examined the link between one’s character strengths’ use and their sense of inner peace, serenity, and harmony in life. With over 20,000 subjects in their study, their findings indicated that the character strengths of Hope, Zest and Gratitude were primary components of inner peace, with Spirituality and Forgiveness also significantly involved as secondary components.
Can this research finding assist individuals and communities to foster a sense of inner peace? Well, it certainly provides us with several character strength ‘tools’ for us to action, which may well help us experience greater peacefulness and harmony in our lives. Of the five ‘tools’ of Hope, Zest, Gratitude, Spirituality, and Forgiveness – some of these qualities may come to you very easily and naturally and could be referred to as your signature strengths. Possibly finding new ways to action such signature strengths will assist you with inner peace. For others of us, some of these qualities we may find quite challenging to draw upon, but hence focussing on nurturing one of these qualities within you may be quite powerful.
We are living through times of considerable challenge, upheaval and war, and it is not trivial to foster a sense of inner peace in ourselves and others as we try to respectfully relate to one another. Personally, I plan to lean into my strength of zest over the coming week and see where this leads me.
At my manifesto we have experienced that helping people express what is deeply important to them as they craft their personal manifesto contributes to values alignment and feelings of peace and harmony.
PS: The International Journal of Wellbeing is now into its 12th year. It is an open access, peer reviewed journal promoting research on wellbeing. All content is free for everyone to access.