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Reflections on the New Year


In the New Year, commit to identify more clearly, utilize more frequently and foster more earnestly your personal strengths and strategically use and grow your personal assets.

Only a few hours away from the beginning of the new year, it is worthwhile to focus on some important lessons from studies about resilience and well-being, that intentionally focusing on and enhancing positive emotions, building and capitalizing on our unique personal character strengths, and having meaningful engagements in life, counteract negative psychological symptoms, buffer against depression and even enhance physical well-being.

To enhance positive emotions, we need to focus on them. We all tend to naturally focus on the negative, ruminate about hurtful or disappointing experiences, and carry with us the unpleasant emotions they engender. The goal for the new year can be to focus on an intentional shift in our attention, memory and expectations away from negative towards positive, training our mind to shift from embittering experiences to savoring the good experiences. This year, let us strive to intentionally savor our positive experiences of joy, connection and success, mindfully enhancing their intensity, and extending their duration.

To increase our meaningful engagement with life we have to identify utilize and foster our unique personal talents and strengths. We all have our strengths and weaknesses; identifying our special strengths helps capitalizing on them to maximize our sense of “flow” and our sense of thriving. Knowing our strengths and being able to access them is also important when facing stressful situations, and can help when working on our relative weaknesses.

My colleague Jaime Traeger-Muney writes: “When determining your True Net Worth (TNW), the real asset classes that need to be considered are the 4 Ts: Talent, Trust, Treasure, and Time. The more you understand these various forms of equity, actively recognize what you have, and strategically plan how to grow these assets, the more you will experience a sense of thriving and fulfillment in your life.” To read more, go to

In the coming New Year, let us focus on strengthening the positive, in our personal arena as well as in our engagement with the larger societal and cultural issues we face, to make 2017 a truly great year!

                                    Irit Felsen

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