It’s important to note that “flourishing” is a destination, not an inherent trait that we either do or do not have. Anyone, literally anyone, can flourish, with the right support and wellness and balance in their life. When we seek this state we are taking tangible, real action towards it. We are not passive, waiting for it to visit us or magically manifest.
As always, we love some good, concrete action here at Reframe. So how do we measure “flourish,” how do we know if we’ve achieved or stepped closer to flourishing? There are actually several different screening tools that can help someone measure flourishing, but many are quite extensive and inaccessible to the general public. One really helpful and simple tool to measure flourishing, however, is The Flourishing Scale, created by Ed Diener and colleagues. It simply measures a response to 8 statements, on a scale from 1 (strongly disagree) to 7 (strongly agree):
I lead a purposeful and meaningful life.
My social relationships are supportive and rewarding.
I am engaged and interested in my daily activities.
I actively contribute to the happiness and well-being of others.
I am competent and capable in the activities that are important to me.
I am a good person and live a good life.
I am optimistic about my future.
People respect me.
Give it a quick go and see where you’re at—add up each of the measurements for a total score from 8 (lowest possible flourishing) to 56 (highest possible flourishing).
Now that we understand “flourishing” and how to measure it, we can begin intentionally cultivating it within our lives. And as always, baby steps can add up to powerful change—how can you bump up by just 1 point in each of the above statements? For example, if statement No. 1, “I lead a purposeful and meaningful life” comes in at about a 4 for your right now, what actionable, tangible step could you take to begin walking towards a 5?
Ackerman, C. (2021.) Flourishing in Positive Psychology: Definition + 8 Practical Tips (PDF).
Ackerman, C. (2020.) What is Positive Psychology & Why is It Important? PositivePsychology.com
Diener, Ed, Wirtz, Derrick, Tov, William, Kim-Prieto, Chu, Choi, Dong-won, Oishi, Shigehiro, & Biswas Diener, Robert.(2010). New Well-Being Measures: Short Scales to Assess Flourishing and Positive and Negative Feelings. Social Indicators Research, 97(2), 143-156.