Zest—also referred to as vitality—is an approach to life that is filled with excitement and energy.
When people hear the word “zest,” they may first think of lemons. In psychology, zest and vitality are a combination of the physical sense and the psychological sense of feeling well. Zest is about exhibiting enthusiasm and feeling energized. But zest doesn’t need to be loud—the quiet, introverted artist can approach her latest project with zest, even if she is alone in her studio.
Most kids have enthusiasm for something. In school, we can work to find what that something is and be sure not to extinguish it as kids get older.
Zest may look like extroversion, but anyone can exhibit the behaviors of zest, regardless of their normal tendency to be introverted or extroverted. Exhibiting zest could involve:
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Zest is a skill you can choose to use when the time is right. Also, zest doesn’t look the same for everyone.
There is a fair bit of research about vitality and extroversion, which are related to zest but not quite the same. One line of research has shown that all people have the ability to act in both extroverted and introverted ways. When people act in a more extroverted way—even introverted people—they can increase their positive affect and well-being.
In addition to our own expertise, this page is informed by the following readings: