What is Human Flourishing: Definition, Strategies&Implementation
Purpose of the Essay
The purposes of this what is human flourishing essay are (a) to provide a framework for business educators to understand human flourishing, (b) to present strategies business educators can implement that encourage both teachers and students flourishing, and (c) to discuss the results of flourishing intervention practices with undergraduate business majors. What strategies can be used by business educators to increase the ability to flourish in a quickly changing educational environment?
Review of the Literature
Definition of Flourishing
Simply put - flourishing is the ability “to grow or develop in a healthy or vigorous way, especially as a result of a particularly favorable environment” and is comprised of five components: awareness, well-being, connection, wisdom, and integration.
Soots asserted that “flourishing is the product of the pursuit and engagement of an authentic life that brings inner joy and happiness through new goals being connected with life passions, and relishing in accomplishments through the peaks and valleys of life”. Yet another definition of flourishing was provided by Seligman, who is considered the father of flourishing, also known as well-being. This definition is based upon PERMA, the five pillars of Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishments.
Since flourishing is a complex construct with multiple dimensions, there is no one agreed upon definition for flourishing among positive psychology scholars. Most of the researchers include three items in their definition of flourishing: happiness, well-being, and life satisfaction. Others, such as VanderWeele, believe that financial stability and spiritual health should also be included in the definition of flourishing. It is important to note that flourishing is not a steady state; it requires action to be sustainable or to grow.
Benefits of Flourishing
People who flourish experience more positive emotions than those who do not flourish. Other benefits of flourishing include reductions in:
- missed days,
- working hours,
- level of helplessness,
- risk of cardiovascular disease,
- number of chronic physical diseases acquired with age,
- daily living health limitations,
- health care usage.
Additional benefits that commonly occur among flourishing individuals are increased life goals clarity and an increased resilience level. Five actions individuals can take to increase their level of flourishing include:
- Learn to direct and redirect attention.
- Enhance the ability to shape time intentionally.
- Practice continual improvement in both personal and professional development.
- Refine the ability to communicate and to listen to others.
- Commit to engaging in positive experiences/
Factors related to flourishing include higher levels of:
- social support,
- positive life events,
The three most popular scales used to measure flourishing are the Flourishing Scale developed by Diener and colleagues; the PERMA-Profiler developed by Butler and Kern, which is based on Seligman’s work and focuses on well-being; and the measure developed by VanderWeele. VanderWeele’s “Flourishing” instrument, which is more comprehensive than the others and includes financial and material flourishing. These three scales are considered valid and reliable.
Strategies and Activities for Developing a Flourishing Mindset
The following strategies may be used to encourage and develop a flourishing mindset in business educators: complete a pre-assessment for flourishing, develop awareness through focus and the ability to be in the present moment, adopt strategies to enhance well-being and reduce stress, attempt to connect with others and to foster attachment to work, strive to develop wisdom, seek integration by pursuing personal and professional growth, and conduct a post-assessment. Instructions for each step are explained in the following paragraphs.
Complete a pre-assessment for flourishing. The Flourishing Scale is in the public domain and may be located online. The eight-item Flourishing Scale requires little time to administer and interpret and is easy to complete.
Develop awareness through focus and the ability to be in the present moment. Goleman identified three aspects of focus: focus on the self, focus on others, and focus on the world. Strategies for developing the ability to focus include practicing mindfulness meditation, eliminating distractions, single tasking, and keeping the end in mind. Instructional strategies and activities for developing mindfulness can be found in the business education literature.
Adopt strategies to enhance well-being and reduce stress. Well-being may be viewed through eight dimensions of physical, emotional, environmental, financial, intellectual, occupational, social, and spiritual aspects. “It is well known that positive emotions facilitate learning, so it is seems reasonable to suggest that they will also enhance teaching. It is neither frivolous nor incidental to ensure that we enjoy ourselves in the classroom” When business educators enjoy being in the classroom, the positive emotions experienced may help to mitigate the stressors that lead to burnout such as compassion fatigue.
Several researchers have reported the positive effect of slowing down the pace of life and savoring positive emotions and experiences One frequently mentioned strategy is to single task rather than multitask; business educators and their students should attempt to complete one thing at a time.
Many business educators are not thriving or flourishing in their jobs but are merely struggling to survive. Further, some business educators suffer from compassion fatigue, which can reduce instructor effectiveness. Only 40% of the adult population is thriving. According to recent reports, students are encountering the same stressors as business educators and are experiencing higher stress levels than before. When individuals are not flourishing, they are languishing and are not accomplishing professional and personal goals.