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Health & Well-Being

How is Life Tree(ting) You?: Find Ways to Flourish

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We call ourselves The Flourish but you may be wondering what exactly it means to flourish? Aside from feeling mentally well, or warm and fuzzy inside, there are many ways to practice flourishing. Whether you are new to flourishing, familiar with the term, or still getting a grasp on it, let’s discover how to find and cultivate flourishing in your life.

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Defining Flourishing

In simplest terms, “flourishing” is when one’s mental health and well-being are high. Flourishing can look different for each individual as we all have a diverse set of personal values, beliefs, and cultural influences. A good measure of one’s well-being is self-perceived success in important areas, such as relationships, self-compassion, purpose, and optimism. Do you feel you lead a purposeful and meaningful life? Are you optimistic about your future? Do you feel supported by your social relationships? If you answered yes, you’re on your way to flourishing!

How Can We Find and Cultivate Flourishing?

There are so many ways… a good way to start is honest reflection. Take a look at the Flourishing Elements to discover what makes up human well-being and how to reflect on your own well-being. Using a series of questions, you will be asked to think about your emotional, physical, social, psychological, and foundational areas of your life, and reflect on where they are and how you can improve them. This can be as simple as investing more time in meaningful relationships, doing things that encourage positive emotion such as practicing gratitude, pursuing the things that bring passion and meaning to your life, the list goes on.

The cool thing about flourishing - you can experience it even when you are facing challenges in life. Actually, it equips you to better handle challenges that come your way because you can bring the version of yourself that is optimizing your well-being to the circumstances of your life. Flourishing does not mean being perfect or challenge-free, it just means you are prioritizing the things that help you feel well and as a result, you can feel better. 

Additional questions for reflection:

  1. How do you know what you're feeling/experiencing and why?
  2. What about your life excites or engages you?
  3. What accomplishments are you most proud of recently?
  4. How engaged are you feeling in your work/schoolwork?
  5. How do you build your capacity to handle stress?
  6. How do you receive support from your current social connections? 
  7. What do need/want from your relationships?

Written by: Cherrial Odell, Class of 2025

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Stanford Resources

  • Subscribe to The Flourish! Stay up-to-date with the latest wellness tips, advice from well-being staff, programs, groups, and workshops, resources available to you, and all things to help you flourish!
  • Flourishing on the Farm The Flourish, How is Life Tree(ting) You?, October 2022: Further explore what it means to flourish and how to flourish during your time at Stanford and beyond.
  • What is Flourishing? Well-Being at Stanford: Learn more about flourishing and how it plays a role in your well-being. Plus, reflect on your current level of flourishing, and what actions you can take to develop your well-being while at Stanford.
  • Well-Being and Mental Illness The Flourish, In the Spotlight, May 2022: Discover the relationship between wellness, well-being, and mental illness and how you can begin taking charge of your mental health today!

Additional Resources