How to Flourish:
Ever feel like your relationships, work or daily life tasks are becoming a chore? Do you feel like engagement in activities is unenjoyable?
If you are not spending enough time engaging in tasks that you feel fulfillment from after, you are potentially headed down a path of misery.
Below, you’ll find out some information regarding engagement and how it can lead to a more fulfilling life. Also, you’ll learn some ways you can increase it!
Posted: May 6th, 2021
Disclaimer: Although I am a mental health professional, all information and reflections are meant for educational purposes only. If you plan to make changes in your life, it may be worth consulting with loved ones and/or your wellness team. Also, this post may contain affiliate links that will connect you with some pretty cool products and when making a purchase through those links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you.
Martin Seligman is the man responsible for the PERMA model and the growth of Positive Psychology. He has multiple books published, but the one I’ve been reading is Flourish. I wouldn’t say Flourish is a light read, as it talks a lot about research, but definitely a cool perspective!
That being said, let me mention more about the PERMA model. What does it stand for?
The goal of Positive Psychology is for people to “Flourish” and the way to do this is foster a little of each of the above elements. Apparently, having fulfillment in each of these areas leads to lower risk of depression and higher life satisfaction (Rashid & Seligman, 2019). Now let’s get more specific to Engagement.
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According to Rashid & Seligman (2019) engagement is referred to a dimension of wellbeing that includes involvement and absorption in work, intimate relations and leisure. In simpler terms, you do activities that you feel like you’ve accomplished something, but also enjoy it.
The state of Flow often gets mentioned in positive psychology, where you get lost in the moment or time flies. You are doing something that provides fulfillment and joy, so it is easy to lose track of time.
According to studies, doing more activities that you feel engaged in decreases boredom, anxiety and depression. Why? You are successfully completing something challenging! Not too challenging, but enough that you need to utilize your attention on the tasks, and you feel a sense of accomplishment after.
Some of the additional perks include:
– Positive reinforcement
– Higher motivation
– Life satisfaction
– Improved mood
How to Increase Engagement & Flow
Check out my recent post with a list of the 24 Character Strengths to learn a little more, but basically…
If you learn what your natural strengths are, you can use them more in your life! You may need to get a little creative, but you can look into ways to add them to your work, relationships and play.
For example, one of my top strengths is humour. So? One of my hobbies is Stand-Up comedy, I also like to find ways to make others laugh through social media and when at work.
Creativity is another one of my character strengths, so I use this blog and enjoy helping patient’s problem solve their issues in creative ways.
To learn yours, check out the VIA Character Strengths Survey! Even if you do not identify with all of them, try to add one or two into more areas of your life.
I’ve described this a little above, but it’s time to get writing. After learning your character strengths, you now need to create a game plan.
Write down a self-development plan including achievable, specific and measurable goals. (Look into SMART goals)
Add the strengths you think are the most important and find small ways to use them at work, socially, self-care, and with hobbies.
Although I was already on the path toward becoming a counsellor, learning my strengths solidified my decision! They were all characteristics that would be fulfilled by being a counsellor, so that was quite exciting to experience.
When you are doing different activities, start to be mindful of how much you are enjoying the moment. If you are getting into a state of flow or losing track of time (in a good way, of course), maybe consider putting more time aside to do those things.
That way, you can also increase your Positive Emotions, by acknowledging the enjoyment you are experiencing by using your strengths.
In short, find more activities that you feel ENGAGEMENT in. It is an important piece of improving your wellbeing, so it is worth putting the time aside to do things you enjoy and feel fulfilled by.
Rashid, T. & Seligman, M. (2019) Positive psychotherapy. In D. Wedding & R.J. Corsini (Eds.), Current Psychotherapies (11th ed.) 481-526. Cengage.
Youssef-Morgan, C., & Bockorny, K. M. (2013). Engagement in the context of positive psychology. Employee engagement in theory and practice, 36-56.