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Gallup: You Stress Less When You Use Your Strengths

Image via Praseodimio/

According to a new Gallup poll, Americans report feeling less worry, stress, anger, sadness and physical pain the more hours per day they feel they’re utilizing their strengths. More than half of Americans who use their strengths zero to three hours per day report feeling stressed, whereas only 36 percent of those who use their strengths for 10 or more per day felt similar stress.

The poll is part of Gallup’s wellbeing index and asked 5,049 American adults, "About how many hours out of the day yesterday were you able to use your strengths to do what you do best?" According to the survey findings, there is a strong correlation between using your strengths and feeling positive emotions—like happiness and high energy.

Americans also gain a boost in positive emotions the more they use their strengths. The more hours per day adults believe they use their strengths, the more likely they are to report having ample energy, feeling well-rested, being happy, smiling or laughing a lot, learning something interesting, and being treated with respect.

Particularly important for workplaces is the added energy adults report when they get to use their strengths frequently during the day. Adults who use their strengths for 10 hours or more per day are 22 percentage points more likely to say they have enough energy to get things done than are those who use their strengths for three hours or less.  

For certain emotions -- particularly happiness and anger -- only a few hours of strengths usage are needed to maximize one's chance of having a good day. By contrast, stress and worry decrease, and respect increases with each additional hour of reported strengths usage. For each of these emotional experiences, every additional hour of strengths usage adds as much benefit as the first hour. One reason why these emotions - stress, worry, and respect -- differ from some of the others may be that laughter and anger tend to be fleeting, momentary experiences. By comparison, respect is an attitude that forms over time.

Do you feel you get to use your strengths during the day? 

You can find the complete survey results at Gallup

(Image via Praseodimio/

Mark Micheli is Special Projects Editor for Government Executive Media Group. He's the editor of Excellence in Government Online and contributes to GovExec, NextGov and Defense One. Previously, he worked on national security and emergency management issues with the US Treasury Department and the Department of Homeland Security. He's a graduate of the Coro Fellows Program in Public Affairs and studied at Drake University.

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