Zest | Character Strength | VIA Institute

Become Aware Of Your Strength

Understand what zest is all about so you can begin recognizing it in yourself and others.
What is Zest?

Zest means approaching a situation, or life in general, with excitement and energy, not approaching tasks or activities halfway or halfheartedly. People who are high in zest are excited to get up in the morning, and they live their lives like an adventure. Zest is a dynamic strengths that is directly related to physical and psychological wellness. This strength has the strongest ties to overall life satisfaction and a life of engagement.

Which virtue is this strength?
Zest is a strength within the virtue category of courage, one of six virtues that subcategorize the 24 strengths. Courage describes strengths that help you exercise your will and face adversity. The other strengths in Courage are bravery , honesty , perseverance , and zest .
What the Science Says

Research findings on the benefits of the strength of Zest found Zest is one of the two strengths most strongly connected with happiness. You are likely to view your work as a calling in life, in that the work is deeply fulfilling, meaningful, and purposeful. Zest is closely connected with the strength of hope, as both are aligned with higher positivity. Zest is more in the moment, but each has an element of looking to the future.

Explore Your Strength

Reflect on how you’ve used zest in the past, in everyday life and during special or critical times.

Questions to Help You Understand Your Strength Better
  • What conditions (people, places, or activities) bring out your zest?
  • How does zest lead you, if at all, in directions that you later regret?
  • Zest is well described as a value-added strength, meaning that its moral nature is best revealed when it is combined with other character strengths. Which of your character strengths might combine best with zest?
Examples of this Strength in Action

Wondering about times that you may be using this strength? Here are a few examples of at work in the world.

  • Asking your relationship partner about their day.
  • Because zest is affected by exercise, go for periodic walks while you are at work, in between tasks.
  • Approaching a task in your community with enthusiasm and energy.

Apply Your Strength

How can you make the most of zest in your everyday life? In the moments that matter most? Here are some ideas.
  • Improve your sleep hygiene by establishing regular sleep time, eating 3-4 hours before sleeping, avoiding doing any work in the bed, not taking caffeine late in the evening, etc. Notice changes in your energy level.
  • Do a physically rigorous activity (bike riding, running, sports singing, playing) that you always wanted to do but have not done yet.
  • Call old friend and reminisce good old times.