What Matters/Flourishing

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Flourishing[edit]

Atlas strives to emerge fully formed.

Professor Martin Seligman makes his case for flourishing as perhaps the wisest goal for humanity. “Being in a state of mental health is not merely being disorder free; rather it is the presence of flourishing” [1]

Flourishing—increasing our well-being—is characterized by these five elements:

  1. Positive Emotions—The pleasant life, positive affect, feeling happy,
  2. EngagementFlow, getting lost in your work,
  3. (Positive) Relationships—other people,
  4. Meaning – Belonging to and serving something bigger than yourself, and
  5. Accomplishment—completing tasks and projects.

These can be recalled using the mnemonic: PERMA.

Exercises described in the book that can increase well-being include:

  1. Gratitude Visit—Recall someone who was kind to you but who you never properly thanked. Write out a one-page note thanking them in depth. Visit that person and read the entire note to them.
  2. Random acts of kindness—Just do something unexpected and kind to others. Seligman bought $10 of penny stamps and handed them out to the people standing in a long line at the post office to save them lots of time and frustration.
  3. What Went Well (Three Blessings)—Every night for the next week set aside ten minutes before going to sleep. Write down three things that went well today and why then went well.
  4. Apply your signature strengths—Take the VIA Survey at the AuthenticHappiness.org website to identify your signature strengths. Then find a new way to apply and exercise those strengths.
  5. Respond Actively and Constructively when hearing something good has happened to someone you care about.

Assignment:[edit]

  • Read the book Seligman, Martin (2011). Flourish: A New Understanding of Happiness, Well-Being - And How to Achieve Them. Nicholas Brealey Publishing. ISBN 978-1857885699. 
  • Complete the exercises described briefly above and more fully in the book.
  • Strive to flourish.

Suggestions for further reading:[edit]

  • Seligman, Martin (2011). Flourish: A New Understanding of Happiness, Well-Being - And How to Achieve Them. Nicholas Brealey Publishing. ISBN 978-1857885699. 
  • The happy secret to better work, February 2012 TED talk by Shawn Achor
  • (Evaluate the book: Thrive: The Third Metric to Redefining Success and Creating a Life of Well-Being, Wisdom, and Wonder )

References:[edit]

  1. Seligman, Martin (2011). Flourish: A New Understanding of Happiness, Well-Being - And How to Achieve Them. Nicholas Brealey Publishing. ISBN 978-1857885699.