What does flourishing mean to you?
Maybe you picture a plant. It's radiating health, blooming with vivid colors, the very embodiment of vitality – it's flourishing. Or consider a booming business, with profits hitting the roof and investors grinning from ear to ear – undoubtedly, it's flourishing.
So, let's talk about us humans. What the heck does it even mean for us to flourish?
You might think flourishing is having a bank account that would make a billionaire blush, or that flourishing means being on a continuous journey of self-improvement. Perhaps for you, flourishing is all about savoring the contentment in life's quiet moments, or it might be about tackling new challenges with gusto.
Flourishing may seem like just another trendy buzzword in the self-help world, but hold your judgment for a moment. Thanks to the advancements in Positive Psychology, we now have access to research that uncovers the key factors that empower individuals, organizations, and communities to not only survive but to truly thrive and flourish.
Get ready for some valuable insights on things you can do — whether you're at work or at home — to cultivate your own flourishing.
What is Flourishing?
Flourishing is similar to having optimal well-being, but it goes beyond just experiencing positive emotions and good mental and physical health.In this state of flourishing, individuals are not merely existing; they are truly thriving. They possess the skill to utilize their distinctive strengths and utilize them to create a profound and positive influence on their environment.
Yet flourishing isn't solely an inward journey. It also involves cultivating and nurturing positive relationships and connections with others, recognizing the critical role that a supportive social network plays in overall well-being.
It is essential to understand that flourishing does not equate to constant happiness. Instead, it represents the nurturing of habits that enable an individual to navigate through stress with grace and resilience, effectively minimizing its negative impact on both their physical and mental health.
Here's the cherry on top: your flourishing state isn't set in stone. With various evidence-backed practices, you can dial up your well-being and nurture a higher level of flourishing in both your personal and professional lives.
The Flourishing Formula
How can we unlock the secret to flourishing? Dr. Seligman's PERMA™ theory of well-being aims to answer this essential question.According to Seligman, PERMA makes up five important building blocks of well-being and happiness:
- Positive emotion – feeling good
- Engagement – being completely absorbed in activities
- Relationships – being authentically connected to others
- Meaning – purposeful existence
- Achievement – a sense of accomplishment and success
Each individual will find different levels of well-being through these five building blocks. What constitutes a good life for one person may not be the same for another. There are numerous paths to achieving a flourishing and fulfilling life.Ideas to Help You Flourish
Now, let's take a closer look at the five key elements of the PERMA Model and explore various ways to enhance our well-being. So, get ready to dive deep into these concepts and grab your notebooks (or iPads) as we embark on this insightful journey!
Sure, everyone can flash a brilliant smile, but it’s what lies beneath that really counts. Positive emotion isn't about grinning ear to ear 24/7, but about cultivating a sense of optimism, even when life throws curveballs. In the workplace, this could mean celebrating small wins, creating an atmosphere of acceptance, and fostering a positive outlook on future projects. And let's not forget about distinguishing between 'pleasure' (meeting basic needs) and 'enjoyment' (immersion in an engaging task) - both contribute to workplace satisfaction and happiness.
Let's explore some exciting methods to elevate your positive energy levels:
You know those TV shows, movies, or tunes that never fail to put a grin on your face? The ones that make you laugh so hard your sides ache or soothe your soul after a long day? Yeah, those. Indulge in them! They're your feel-good elixir, aren't they?
Get playful! Invite your family, friends, and even your work buddies to a fun game night. Remember, it's not about winning, it's about the shared laughs and camaraderie!
You've got this amazing machine, your body, ready to move. So let's give it a spin with some physical exercise. Get those happy hormones flowing!
- Engage in hobbies and creative activities that bring you joy and fulfillment.
- Keep a gratitude diary. Jot down even the teeny-tiny things that you cherish each day. Those little joys add up, trust us!
Ever been so lost in a task that time slipped away? That's 'engagement' in a nutshell. When employees find something they're passionate about and can immerse themselves in, it's a win-win situation. Whether it's coding, strategizing, designing, or even crunching numbers, promoting engagement not only makes work more enjoyable but also drives productivity.
You've probably experienced this phenomenon when you hit that magical balance between challenge and capability, where your skills perfectly match the task at hand. That is the sweet spot of engagement.
Interestingly, research has found that you're more likely to catch this wave of 'flow' when you're cruising on your top character strengths. It's like trying on a custom-made suit that fits just right. A study even suggests that people who spiced up their life by using their strengths in new ways every day for a week felt happier and less blue half a year later. How's that for some 'strength-training'?
So, how can you hop on the 'flow' train and turn up your engagement levels?
- Dive into activities you're passionate about, the ones where you're so absorbed that you lose track of time. It's like being in your favorite book, where the outside world fades away.
- Practice mindfulness and living in the present, even during ordinary activities or chores. Transform washing dishes or folding laundry into a zen moment.
- Embrace the call of the wild! Or well, your local park will do too. Seriously though, spend some time with Mother Nature. The fresh air, greenery, and tranquility can work wonders for your spirit.
- Discover and understand your unique character strengths, then channel them into things that light up your world. It's like becoming a master of your own destiny.
As social beings, we are like threads in a vast and vibrant tapestry, intricately woven together to form a beautiful and complex pattern. Relationships are the threads that connect us, creating a rich and diverse tapestry of interactions with our partners, friends, family members, colleagues, and mentors.
From sharing a simple cup of coffee with a cherished friend, to collaborating with a supportive colleague to solve a challenging problem, to seeking guidance from a trusted mentor, each interaction adds a unique hue and texture to the fabric of our lives.
But the beauty of relationships extends far beyond our immediate circles. They reach out into the wider community, spreading like ripples in a pond. Whether it's volunteering at a local charity, participating in a neighborhood event, or simply exchanging warm greetings with the familiar barista at the corner café, these connections enrich our lives in countless ways.
Tips for building meaningful relationships:
- Plan some catch-up sessions with your loved ones. Face-to-face or online, it doesn't matter.
- Don't forget to let your work pals know how much you appreciate them.
- Be there for someone, listen actively and empathize when they're dealing with a problem.
- Strike up a conversation with a stranger, it could brighten their day.
Deeply ingrained in the fabric of human existence is the relentless pursuit of meaning and an innate need to establish a sense of value and worth. Seligman characterizes 'meaning' as a feeling of belonging to or serving a cause greater than oneself. Possessing a definitive purpose in life can be instrumental, guiding individuals to concentrate on pivotal aspects during times of considerable challenge or adversity.
The manifestation of purpose or meaning varies for every individual. For some, professional endeavors might provide this sense of purpose, while others might derive it from championing a social or political cause, engaging in creative pursuits, or adhering to religious or spiritual beliefs. Career paths, extracurricular activities, volunteer work, or community engagement can also imbue one's life with meaning.
Personal values significantly influence the quest for meaning. Notably, individuals who have reported a clear purpose in life tend to live longer and exhibit higher life satisfaction, coupled with fewer health issues.
Discover these powerful strategies to cultivate a deep sense of meaning in your life:
Champion a cause or become part of an organization that resonates with your core values.
Embrace the thrill of trying new, creative activities. You never know where you'll find that spark of connection.
Reflect on how you can use your passions to serve others. It's like using your unique treasure map to help others find their way.
Spend quality time with the people you care about. After all, relationships are the ties that bind us in this shared adventure of life.
Think of a time when you set a goal, pushed your limits, dug your heels in, and finally achieved what you set out to do. That exhilarating feeling of triumph washing over you, that's accomplishment! It's like reaching the peak of a mountain after a grueling climb, where you stand tall, looking back at the trail you've blazed with a heart full of pride.
Achievement isn't just about reaching the finish line; it's also about the thrilling journey, the countless stumbles, the grit to get back up, and the undying spirit to keep moving forward. It's about persevering and relishing the satisfying taste of success when you finally achieve it.
Nothing beats the high of achieving a goal, big or small. These victories, whether it's nailing a presentation or successfully leading a project, bolster self-esteem and foster a sense of personal worth. In the workplace, recognizing and celebrating these accomplishments can drive motivation and productivity. And remember, no victory is too small to celebrate!
Here are some ways to ignite the fire of accomplishment:
- Got dreams? Make plans for them! Near-term or long-term, it doesn't matter. Having something to look forward to can be a game-changer. So dream big, and plan accordingly!
- Play your own little version of "Three Good Things" or "What Went Well Today" at the end of the day. Reflect, rejoice, and repeat!
- Be SMART about your goals! Set them to be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Time-bound. It's like having a detailed map for your treasure hunt.
- Take a stroll down memory lane and reflect on your past victories. Remember, every triumph, no matter how small, paves the way for your epic journey to awesomeness!
Living a Good Life
Flourishing is about harnessing our unique talents, cultivating meaningful relationships, and finding joy in life's simple pleasures. It's about seeking fulfillment beyond traditional measures of success and making a positive impact in the world. This is the essence of the 'good life' - one that prioritizes fulfillment, happiness, and overall well-being over materialistic gains. It's a life of authenticity, personal growth, and leaving a lasting impression on others.
Regardless of where you currently stand on the well-being and flourishing scale, remember that you have the power to incorporate simple yet effective evidence-based practices into your daily routines. These practices will not only boost your flourishing but also nurture your overall well-being, leading to a more fulfilled and purposeful life.
Share your thoughts on what it means to flourish in the comments below! We can't wait to hear your take on it!