Use a ROAD-MAP to Build Strength Capacity

    Let’s try out a tool called ROAD-MAP, which stands for seven straightforward behaviors that can be applied to any of the 24 character strengths to heighten stress capacity: reflect, observe, appreciate, discuss, monitor, ask, plan (Niemiec 2014). Each step offers an opportunity for strengths exploration and development. Reflect: Consider your past strengths use. When have you used a particular strength at good times and at bad times? Name a situation in which you used quite a bit of bravery. What did bravery look like in action? When were you last curious with your spouse/partner? How did you express that curiosity? How was it received? Observe: Sit back and take notice of others’ behavior. How do people at the mall, on your work team, or on the theater stage express one or more character strengths? What do you notice about how they express the strength of gratitude or humility or teamwork? Appreciate: Express value to someone for who they are; namely, for their strengths of character. Explain to someone why you value their strengths expression and how it is important to you. You might tell the friendly store clerk that their kindness warmed your heart and helped you let go of the pressures of your project deadline. You might tell your child that you appreciated their self-control at the restaurant. Discuss: Have a deliberate conversation with someone about your strengths, their strengths, or a particular character strength. Explore one strength with the person. Take notice of the insights that flow as a result of the give-and-take dialogue. Monitor: This refers to turning inward to watch your own behaviors. Track your strengths use. Make note of times and situations during the day when you use a strength, expectedly or unexpectedly. Or target one strength in particular and “count” your acts of creativity, of kindness, of humility. Ask: Request help or support from others. Ask for feedback on your character strengths. When you know you’ll be encountering a stressful situation at home, ask other people how they would use character strengths to handle the situation. Ask them how they would use the strength of perspective in the situation. Plan: Make an action plan to use your strengths. Set a concrete goal for developing one of your strengths throughout this month. Plan to use one of your strengths during the busiest part of your day. Which of the seven behaviors best aligns with your style of stress management? For example, some people love to talk about their stress, while others are more reflective and benefit from journaling or quiet contemplation. Which of the seven offers the best fit for you to practice your strengths? How so?
    Consider your signature strengths. Choose one signature strength and choose one of the seven behaviors. Brainstorm how you might link the two together in a beneficial way.
    Consider your nonsignature strengths. Choose one nonsignature strength and choose one of the seven behaviors. Brainstorm how you might link the two together in a beneficial way.
    When you consider all seven behaviors and all 24 character strengths, there’s a multitude of possibilities for growing your strength capacities. This means that at virtually any moment of your life, you could discover a way to exercise your strengths. Keep the ROAD-MAP acronym handy so you can play with it each day! Tap Abilities, Interests, and Resources for Capacity Building You might recall from chapter 2 that there are many positive qualities you have in addition to your character strengths. Here we will focus on three types of them in relation to using your character strengths to manage stress, as understanding them will help you enhance your capacity.
    Your Talents/Abilities These are things you naturally do well. Are you a natural with the piano, a paintbrush, or a golf club? Do you have a knack for numbers, for comprehending what you read, or for relating to people? Perhaps the best way to think about talents and abilities is to consider the work on multiple intelligences by Harvard psychologist Howard Gardner. Using a theory that has kept strong for well over three decades, he challenged the conventional thinking at the time that held that humans had just one general intelligence. Gardner (1983) argued that humans have many basic intelligences, and he categorized seven abilities in particular: 1. Spatial: The capacity for visual imagery, able to understand and transform spatial imagery. Displayed strongly in architects, city planners, sculptors, and billiard players. 2. Logical-mathematical: Competent with numbers and data, organizing ideas in abstract ways. Displayed strongly in math professors, accountants, quantitative researchers, and physicists. 3. Bodily: Kinesthetic capacity for one’s body and its movement in space, having mastery and precise control over one’s body. Shown in college/professional basketball players, skiers, dancers, surgeons, and yoga instructors. 4. Linguistic: Understanding, sensitivity to, and use of language—its function and meanings, able to be clear and precise with words and to offer different ways of explaining topics. Shown in poets, popular fiction writers, dialogue editors for movies, orators, and exemplary professors and teachers. 5. Musical: An ability to organize and produce sounds according to prescribed pitch and rhythm. Displayed strongly in singers, theatrical/musical performers, orchestra members, and other musicians. 6. Personal: Intrapersonal capacity to introspect and understand one’s own thoughts, feelings, needs, desires, and hopes. Shown by clinical psychologists, novelists, filmmakers, and those who regularly meditate/contemplate. 7. Social: Interpersonal capacity to connect with people, to understand what makes people tick, to be tuned in to people’s feelings and desires. Often displayed in social workers, pastors, salespersons, marketers, and politicians. Each of these entails a problem-solving skill set that you might already be naturally using to manage stress or other difficulties in your life. These abilities can function independently from one another, so you can be high in one or two and low in others. As you look at this list of seven intelligences, don’t get caught up in extremist thinking— that is, concluding that you cannot relate to any because you’re not in one of the professions listed or you’re not an Olympic athlete or a hard scientist. Instead, look to see which one or two (or more) you relate to most. Consider your accomplishments. If you examine what you have accomplished in your life and how you got to this point in your life, that can point to one or more of your abilities. Did you gain that award at work not only because you worked hard, but because you are very good at connecting with many people or are politically savvy? If so, that might say something about your social ability. Did you receive a substantial amount of praise when you performed in your tenth-grade musical? If so, then perhaps musical intelligence is a core ability for you. Consider your intrigue. Which category is most intriguing to you? Those who have a particular ability are usually quite attuned to the display of that ability by others. If you are fascinated by biographies about scientists, then logical-mathematical ability may align nicely with you. If you marvel at wordsmiths who offer brilliant TED Talks, then you might have a good deal of linguistic ability. Think about who you admire, the people who are most memorable to you. We’re often intrigued by abilities we possess ourselves. WHAT ARE YOU GOOD AT? Which of the seven abilities do you relate to most? Write down what you perceive to be your top ability: How do you express this ability in your daily life?
    Wadifa Club
    writer and blogger, founder of Dog food planet .

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