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10 ideas to turn Languishing into Flourishing today

Updated: May 7, 2021

Adam Grant is a renowned author and Wharton professor, who if you didn't know him before a couple weeks ago, you likely know him now as the voice behind this viral NYTimes article. He so eloquently gives a name to the term we've all been feeling: languishing. That sense of stagnation or emptiness you've felt since the world turned upside down? That's it.

And this week, the Times delivered our solution to languishing: flourishing. Ultimately, we all want to feel what it's like to flourish. But first, it's helpful to identify where we currently fall on the flourishing scale. Harvard has a handy 10-step questionnaire for this.

I also think there's another step that's a bit unspoken: recognizing that certain aspects of our current circumstances are outside of our control. So, why not focus on what we actually *can* control and see how we feel from there? I've compiled 10 ideas that just might help you go from languishing to flourishing - all within your reach, and no Netflix included. Different people require different solutions, so try what works best for you! Please share your go-to remedies in the comments below :) #LetsFlow

Make something new.

There's a great sense of gratitude that comes from turning an idea into a tangible result. The result doesn't have to be pretty or perfect - simply allowing yourself to be proud of tackling a new process is all the prize you need. Whether you rearrange or redecorate a room in your home, build a lego set, pot a plant, test a recipe, or bust out the markers and crayons - as Vonnegut says: you will get an enormous reward - you will have created something.

Move your body.

We were not designed to go from bed, to office chair, to couch, and back to bed on a daily basis. Whatever your abilities, challenge yourself to add another form of movement to your routine. Put on a good tune and dance! Stretch your neck in your seat. Go for a walk around the block. Practice a form of yoga. Find a free online exercise you can do in 15 minutes. Wave your hands in the air like you just don't care! Your body will feel it, and your mind will thank you.

Phone a friend.

Texting is overrated. Convenient? Sure! But it's way better to hear an actual voice on the other end of the phone. Think of someone you haven't talked to lately, call them up the old fashioned way, and simply let them know they were on your mind. Instead of asking the usual dead-end questions like "What's new?", try "What is something you're excited about lately?". You might discover they're wrapping up a work project, or getting a manicure this weekend, or reading a good book, or have their child's sporting event this evening. Then, share something that's exciting you! This is one I'm still working on myself - and although infrequent, it feels good every time.

Enjoy the Earth.

Spring is in the air, y'all! We already know how beneficial it is to feel the sunshine on our skin, but even if Mr. Sun doesn't come out to play today, you still can. Step outside and take a big gulp of that fresh air. Notice what's happening in the trees, grass, and sky around you. Soak it in. Let nature do its healing thing. (And wear sunscreen.)

Support a cause.

Studies have proven the psychological benefits of helping others. Volunteering is especially beneficial. But if you can't volunteer your time in person, look up a cause you care about. Find organizations that are doing something about it. Write them a thank you letter, spread the word, or donate money if you're able. Keep up with their efforts and identify little ways you can support and grow with them. What's in it for you? A newfound sense of purpose. #priceless

Come clean.

The shower is where the mind clears and the body cleanses. If you've found yourself feeling blah, try rinsing it all out. Need more? Set a timer and sit in a warm, relaxing bubble bath. For 20 minutes, don't allow any other responsibilities or distractions to enter your zone. Treat yourself to a quality face and/or body moisturizer to top it off!

Tune out the tech.

When was the last time you had a phone-free day? Sadly, I couldn't tell you an answer to that question myself. Pick a day to put your phone in a drawer and be fully present. Or, take baby steps by starting with a news-free day or an Instagram-free day. If the world is ending, you'll find out somehow - everything else can wait. We're consuming too much nonsense. Stop the scroll and let the good times roll!

Chart your calendar.

Isn't it nice to have something to look forward to? Over the past year, that was quite the fleeting feeling. Now, there's hope! Plan a day trip, weekend getaway, backyard hangout, or dinner with people you love. Save the date and excitedly await! (OK, that was my last rhyme...)

Adore an animal.

I don't know about you, but I find few things more comforting than curling up with a kitten or petting a puppy. Don't have a pet? Don't want one? You could offer to walk your neighbor's dog, or show some love at your local animal shelter. There might even be some entertaining squirrels right outside your window - they're fun, too, and you get to keep your distance. Watch how they interact with the world. Animal therapy is the real deal.

Just breathe.

Meditating can be a challenge. I've recently discovered the 4-7-8 breathing technique and it's made a world of difference! By focusing on counting, the mind is less likely to wander, and the breathing patterns send a signal to your body that it's time to wind down. Feeling stressed at work? 4-7-8! Need help getting to sleep? 4-7-8! No matter what, we can practice gratitude for the air in our lungs and keep moving forward one breath at a time.


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