The Other Side of Languishing Is Flourishing. Here’s How to Get There.

The Other Side of Languishing Is Flourishing. Here’s How to Get There.

via the NY Times by Dani Blum

With vaccination rates on the rise, hope is in the air. But after a year of trauma, isolation and grief, how long will it take before life finally — finally — feels good?

Post-pandemic, the answer to that question may be in your own hands. A growing body of research shows that there are simple steps you can take to recharge your emotional batteries and spark a sense of fulfillment, purpose and happiness. The psychology community calls this lofty combination of physical, mental and emotional fitness “flourishing.” It is the exact opposite of languishing, that sense of stagnation Adam Grant wrote about recently for The Times.

“Flourishing really is what people are ultimately after,” said Tyler J. VanderWeele, an epidemiology and biostatistics professor and director of Harvard’s Human Flourishing Program. “It’s living the good life. We usually think about flourishing as living in a state in which all aspects of a person’s life are good — it’s really an all-encompassing notion.”

The good news is that the scientific evidence related to flourishing is robust, and numerous studies show simple activities can lead to marked improvement in overall well-being. Here are some practical activities, backed by science, that can help you get started.

First, how do you know if you’re languishing, flourishing or somewhere in between? Simply asking yourself is an effective diagnostic tool, said Laurie Santos, a psychology professor at Yale who teaches a free 10-week course called “The Science of Well-Being.” Do you wake up ready to start your day or would you rather go back to sleep? Do you have a sense of purpose or do you find how you spend much of your day to be meaningless? “You are kind of the expert on your own sense of flourishing,” she said.

Dr. VanderWeele uses a 10-question assessment in his program at Harvard, which you can try here. Participants rate five areas of their lives on a scale of one to 10, with questions focusing on happiness and life satisfaction, physical and mental health, meaning and purpose, character and virtue and close social relationships. Just taking the quiz and reflecting on the questions it asks can put you on a path to making positive changes, Dr. VanderWeele said.

After a year of Zoom birthday parties and virtual graduations, many of us want to revel in gathering together again. Celebrations help to create and cement relationships. “It’s really important that post-pandemic we embrace more and more celebrating,” Dr. VanderWeele said…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE