What Strengths do you bring to this Experience?

Take an inventory of assets you’re bringing to this challenge (your surgical preparation and recovery).

You have a circle of friends and family, of whatever size and degree of closeness: Maybe this health issue has brought you closer to some of them, or maybe you’ve retreated and feel isolated.

You have your current state of health and vitality: Maybe you’re managing some additional chronic health conditions. Or you could be participating in walkathons every weekend.

You have your set of habits: The media you consume. The food and beverages. When you go to sleep and when you rise and how active you are in between. The rituals of self-care you perform each day or week.

And then there’s… YOU.

You also have a set of personal strengths that you may or may not be bringing to bear to support you through this challenge: strengths that can help you work constructively with your circumstances, including your circle of support, your physical environment, your health and your habits (and more… those were just examples).

The Positive Psychology Center at the University of Pennsylvania has developed something called the “VIA Survey of Character Strengths” and a quicker version called the “Brief Strengths Test”.

Take the time to register on their website and take the (full or brief) survey.

At the end of the survey, you’ll have a list of your top five positive traits, like “Creativity and Ingenuity” or “Social Intelligence”.  Hopefully the list resonates with your self-understanding. Or maybe you think something else should have made the list (it may have come out sixth and so didn’t show up).

During the weeks and months to come, when you feel stuck on some part of your recovery (e.g. asking for support, or being diligent about your self-care routine, managing discomfort or impatience), look back at your list of strengths for ideas about how to move forward.

Here's an example from my own recovery: My top strength is "Creativity, Ingenuity and Originality: thinking of new ways to do things is a crucial part of who you are". So I brought my imagination to bear on my recovery. I imagined that I was in a game show called "Best Recovery Ever". And from that notion my motivation was strengthened. That was also the inspiration for this website!

What are your strengths and how can they help you navigate this experience with ease?

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