May 4, 2021

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

By Dani Blum

1,579 words

Research shows that the pandemic took a toll on our overall well-being and left many of us drained. Here are seven simple steps to get you thriving again.

Read original article (archived)

Refreshed on May 14, 2021 at 3:51:21 pm

Headlines and popularity

Revisions

May 14, 2021 at 3:51 pm CHANGED
@@ -1,4 +1,6 @@
1
+ To hear more audio stories from publications like The New York Times, download Audm for iPhone or Android.
2
+
1
3
  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?
2
4
 
3
5
  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.
4
6
 
@@ -7,9 +9,9 @@
7
9
  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.
8
10
 
9
11
  Assess yourself.
10
12
 
11
- First, how do you know if you’re languishing, flourishing or somewhere in between? Simply asking someone is an effective diagnostic tool, said Laurie Santos, a psychology professor at Yale who teaches a free 10-week course called the “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.
13
+ 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.
12
14
 
13
15
  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.
14
16
 
15
17
  Savor and celebrate small things.
@@ -51,9 +53,9 @@
51
53
  What things do you look forward to each day? What gives your life meaning? Research has found that flourishing comes from daily routines, like working on a new skill or reaching out to thank the people you value in your life, and small moments of mastery, connection and meaning.
52
54
 
53
55
  “There are lots of American adults that would meet the qualifications of feeling happy, but they don’t feel sense of purpose,” said Corey Keyes, a professor of sociology at Emory University. “Feeling good about life is not enough.”
54
56
 
55
- While work doesn’t have to be the main driver behind your sense of purpose, studies show that reframing how you think about your job can improve your sense of satisfaction. Deepening relationships with co-workers and reminding yourself how your job contributes to a greater good can change how you think about work. If you’re an insurance agent, for example, perceiving your job as a means of helping people get back on their feet after an accident, rather than focusing on a rote task like processing claims, can make your work more fulfilling
57
+ While work doesn’t have to be the main driver behind your sense of purpose, studies show that reframing how you think about your job can improve your sense of satisfaction. Deepening relationships with co-workers and reminding yourself how your job contributes to a greater good can change how you think about work. If you’re an insurance agent, for example, perceiving your job as a means of helping people get back on their feet after an accident, rather than focusing on a rote task like processing claims, can make your work more fulfilling.
56
58
 
57
59
  “People think that in order to flourish, they need to do whatever their version of winning the Olympics is, or climbing a mountain, or having some epic experience,” Dr. Grant said.
58
60
 
59
61
  If you’re feeling down, choose a small project. It could be as simple as cleaning the kitchen or doing yard work, or even washing your pillow cases. Maybe you set a 10-minute timer and go for a short jog, or try a one-minute meditation. Completing a simple, impactful task can build toward a sense of accomplishment.

At a glance

143,363 views
1 headline observed
2 days on front page
1 revision

#13 viewed

at its peak

#15 shared

at its peak

#1 emailed

at its peak

Headlines

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

Tags

  • Mental Health and Disorders
  • Quarantine (Life and Culture)