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Red and Green Activities

 Intervention 5-10 min/day Client

According to Linley (2008), a strength is “a pre-existing capacity for a particular way of behaving, thinking or feeling that is authentic, energizing to the user, and enables optimal functioning, development and performance” (p. 9). In this definition, perhaps the most important characteristic of strengths is that they are energizing. Activities that rely on our strengths are enjoyable and feel as if our energy levels are being raised. While high performance can be the result of both strengths use and learned behavior, the experience of increased energy most often applies when using character strengths.

Moreover, the perceived amount of energy also provides information on weaknesses. According to Linley, Willars, & Biswas-Diener(2010), “Weaknesses are the things at which you both perform poorly and find de-energizing or draining. When weaknesses are used, they lead to feelings of negativity, disengagement, and lack of motivation” (p. 68). In this exercise, awareness of personal weaknesses and strengths is being increased by analyzing daily activities in terms of the energy levels that the client experiences.

Goal

The goal of this exercise is to increase the client’s awareness of activities that rely on his/her strengths or weaknesses. An advantage of this exercise is that it relies on daily reflection to increase the client’s awareness of strengths and weaknesses. Rather than relying on general post hoc reflections, daily reflection is often more specific and accurate.

Advice

  • To clarify the concept of energy, it is advisable to inform clients that we refer to mental energy here. Activities that allow clients to use their strengths may cause them to become physically tired but psychologically more energized than
  • The current form of exercise requires clients to record activities for one week. However, the client may also decide to spread the reflections over a longer, In any case, it is advisable to use multiple measurements because more measurements will provide more accurate and detailed information.
  • Instead of using pen and paper, clients may also use an electronic device (e.g., a phone or tablet) to record their activities throughout the

Red and Green Activities

Instructions

A hallmark of strengths is “energy.” When we use our strengths, we feel energized and engaged. Activities that rely on our strengths are enjoyable and feel as if our energy levels are being raised.In contrast, using weaknesses drains us. When we operate from our weaknesses, we feel negativity, disengagement, and lack of motivation. Activities that rely on our weaknesses feel as if our energy levels are being drained.

In this exercise, we call activities that rely on your strengths and provide you energy “green activities.” These are activities that:

  • you genuinely enjoy doing
  • make you feel energized
  • make you forget the time
  • you look forward to
  • you can do well even under conditions of stress or fatigue

Activities that rely on your weaknesses and deplete your energy are referred to as “red activities.” These are activities that:

  • you do not like doing
  • make you feel depleted
  • seem to pass very slowly
  • you don’t look forward to
  • require a lot of effort and self-control to do well

During the upcoming week, record your “green” and “red” moments daily. Use the table in Appendix A. In the first column of this table, provide a brief description of the activity. In addition, indicate energy levels per activity by registering the extent to which the activity at hand enhanced energy or depleted energy. In the second column, put a sign next to each activity toindicate the change in energy level:

—     required a lot of energy

–      required some energy

0      did not require energy but did not give energy either

+     gave me positive energy

++    gave me a lot of positive energy

After completing the reflections, closely examine your answers. Select the five activities that make you feel most energized and use the first column of the table in Appendix B, “My Top 5 Green Activities, “ to list them.

Next, use the second column of the table to indicate what strength(s) you may be using during each activity.

 

Now do the same thing for the 5 activities that depleted your energy. Select the 5 activities that make you feel most depleted and use the first column of Appendix B, “My top 5 Red Activities,“ to list them.

Next, use the second column of the table to indicate, for each activity, which strengths you lack during this activity.

What have you learned from this exercise?

 

 

How can you use your strengths more often?

 

How can you effectively deal with situations that deplete your energy? For instance, you can delegate your energy-drainingareas to someone or reframe those tasks? Alternatively, you may marshal your strengths to help or build your energy ahead of time so that you have the baseline energy you need to get through an energy-draining task.

 

Appendix A: Daily Reflection Form

Date:

Green Activities

Activity                          Energy levels                  Note

 

 

Red Activities

Activity                          Energy levels                  Note

 

 

 

 

Appendix B: My Top 5 Activities – Reflection

 

 

My Top 5 Green Activities

Activities that make me feel most energized:       Strength(s) that I am using during these activities:

 

1.

 

2.

 

3.

 

4.

 

5.

 

 

My Top 5 Red Activities

Activities that make me feel most depleted:         Strength(s) that I am lacking during these activities:

 

1.

 

2.

 

3.

 

4.

 

5.