Flourisher or Languisher?

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Are you a Flourisher or a Languisher? Languishers pine away about their lives. They wallow in great self-pity about every struggle they face – great or small. The proverbial glass is always half empty. They take every chance to let everyone around them know that life is not a bed of roses, and if they had any roses, they’d be wilted and full of thorns. On the other hand, Flourishers look on the bright side of life, even when facing challenges. Just as flowers in the garden flourish, these positive people enjoy the fullness of life and thrive. According to a study in American Psychologist, 17% of Americans are Flourishers and 10% are Languishers. The rest fall somewhere in between. Flourishers have a positive outlook, feel a sense of community, and are healthier than Languishers.

A Dutch professor reviewed 30 studies from around the world and found that the effects of happiness on longevity were “comparable to that of smoking or not.” He went so far as to say that the effects of a positive outlook could extend a person’s life 7.5 – 10 years! His study showed that happy people tend to watch their weight, are more perceptive to symptoms of illness, live healthier lives. Makes me want a heavy dose of happiness!

What’s remarkable about these studies is they show that happiness is a choice. Both Flourishers and Languishers encounter negative experiences, sorrows, and tragedies. But those who take the high road and make the very best out of each situation feel happiness within. Happy people spread happiness.

In Sardinia and Okinawa, where people live the longest, residents claim to spend more time with family, nourish their faith, and do good things for others. That sounds like a flourishing life to me! Those sound like characteristics of a Christ-filled life.

Abraham Lincoln said, “Most folks are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” To flourish or to languish? It’s a choice!

“A happy heart makes the face cheerful.” Proverbs 15:13


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