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  • Writer's pictureCloey Bibbs

Flourishing: What It Means to Thrive


There is a huge difference between what it means to survive and what it means to thrive, which is also known as “Flourishing." What does it mean to flourish? Most might say that flourishing means getting tasks done and having energy to do them, but what if we viewed this concept as a state of being? What if we could say that to flourish means being able to handle times of distress by still experiencing positive emotions, connection, and recognizing our achievements?

Since we are wired to look out for threats and our own survival, we are always in this fight or flight state. We are not meant to be workaholics, and hustle culture tells us that what we do determines our success and worth. “I had so much energy that I worked every day this week! I’m thriving!” It’s okay to have a sense of accomplishment, but this example leads to burnout. 


In the blog post, Positive Psychology: A New Shift in Perspective Through Building Our Own Resiliency (https://www.therapeuticcounseling.org/post/positive-psychology-a-new-shift-in-perspective-through-building-our-own-resiliency), we talked about the PERMA Model (Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment). 



According to Dr. Seligman, the PERMA Model is a roadmap to flourishing if we have this balance. Interestingly, most people are fully aware of the accomplishment aspect, but there’s more! What we achieve is not the only way to flourish. It is also important to note that flourishing is not something that we lack or instinctually have as a trait. Having a mental illness does not mean that an individual isn’t capable of flourishing, and not having a mental illness does not mean that an individual is automatically flourishing. 


There are 6 Domains to Flourishing:




  1. Happiness and Life Satisfaction

  2. Mental and Physical Health

  3. Meaning and Purpose

  4. Character and Virtue

  5. Close Social Relationships

  6. Financial and Material Stability (VanderWeele, 2017)


Also, who said that working everyday means that we are flourishing anyway? Where do we hear messages like this? Financial stability is one aspect of flourishing for sure, but to what extent does it mean that our survival mindset has taken over? What can we do to preserve our energy and have a healthy balance between a survival and thriving mindset? Being in survival mode just means that we are being filled with feelings of fear and anxiety. We can become so caught up in work/school obligations that we often forget to reflect on our values and ensure we are following them. 


If we value mental and physical wellness, then working 8+ hours every single day without balance can be a disservice to ourselves, and it can lead to a Domino Effect. If we don’t have a work-life balance, then we become too tired to intentionally move our bodies through exercise, spend time with family and friends, and possibly become too mentally fatigued to engage in meaningful activities that involve mindfulness and self-reflection. 


There are plenty of activities that we can add into our lives that enhance our wellbeing and minimize our risk to debilitating anxiety and burnout. Activities can include: Going on solo dates, creating new connections and reinforcing current ones, engaging in pleasurable activities, learning new things, reflecting on values, practicing gratitude, acts of kindness, etc.  

If you would like to learn more about flourishing and other aspects of Positive Psychology, feel free to check out our 10-week Positive Psychology group!












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