What we do, why we do it and how we do it
FlourishWell4Life develops evidence-based, blended learning, individualized and gamified mental skills training and intervention programmes for optimal performance, experience and development in education, sport and organizations. Our e-products, e-coaching- and membership services, as well as our workshops, empower our students and clients to purposefully and energetically flourish well for life with style, strength and character.
We want our students and clients to really flourish, to experience high well-being, to be authentically happy and engaged, and to be free of all negative and simultaneously destructive emotional experiences (not all negative emotions - we acknowledge "the upside of your dark side", as Todd Kashdan explains it in his brilliant book with the same name). Our approach is based on the Complete State Model of Mental Health of Corey Keys.
Within this model the absence of mental illness is not equal to the presence of mental health. It states that people should be assessed according to the degree of symptons of mental illness they are experiencing (high or low) as well as the degree of symptons of well-being they are experiencing (high or low). Combining these continua together, people can therefore be classified as
We want our students and clients, in the language of this model, to be completely mentally healthy and therefore to flourish. The figure below helps to explain the model and what we want to accomplish. A very large study in 23 Europian Union countries found that the percentage of the population that really flourished.varied from 6% in Russia, 18% in the UK to 33% in Denmark (as reported by Martin Selegman in "Flourish"). Most of us are struggling or languishing, but we believe that the evidence-based, blended learning, individualized and gamified mental skills training and intervention programmes that we offer will help more people to move from struggling and languishing to flourishing. The application of the science of Positice Psychology, the science of Sport Psychology, the science of wellness, as well as traditional proven approaches, like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) will help us, our students and clients to achieve this desired state of flourishing..
Traditional psychological, therapeutic and even self-help approaches concentrated on "fixing" people, on getting them from the negative (-10 or -4, for example) to zero so that they will be just okay, not struggling or languishing too much, not floundering, but definitely not flourishing. Our approach includes this, by advocating powerful techniques like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), but it takes the next step by taking advantage of the enormous benefits techniques from Positive Psychology (the PERMA-V model of well-being), Sport Psychology, the science of wellness (six diimensions) and neuroscience (brain growth and neuroplasticity) offer. We help our students and clients to continuously make positive shifts on the -10 to 10 scale and equip them with the necessary skills so that they can continue doing this for life, enabling them to flourish well for life. Exactly how (we aim to achieve this) is spelled out on these pages.
FlourishWell4Life conducts blended learning workshops (with individualized membership support pages) and supplies innovative e-products on exciting topics from the fields of Positive Psychology (the PERMA-V model), wellness (based on Dr Bill Hettler's model), cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) and neuroscience. These workshops and products are aimed at individuals, educational institutions, work environments and the world of sport and will hopefully faciltate shifts on the -10 to 10 scales of mental healt and well-being (FlourishWell4Life for Individuals, FlourishWell4Life @ Education, FlourishWell4Life @ Organizations and FlourishWell4Life @ Sport).
Positive Psychology is the scientific study of the strengths that enable individuals and communities to thrive. The field is founded on the belief that people want to lead meaningful and fulfilling lives, to cultivate what is best within themselves, and to enhance their experiences of love, work, and play. In his book "Flourish", Seligman proposes the PERMA theory of flourishing or personal well-being. PERMA stands for Positive emotion (P), Engagement, or flow(E), Relationships (R), Meaning and purpose (M) and Achievement and accomplishment (A).
We like to add the V of Vitality to this model since we stronly believe in the positive influence sufficient physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy (Tony Schwartz's model from "Be Excellent at Anything") has on the quality of our lives and whether we really flourish, or not. That is also why we want to enable our students and clients to "energetically flourish well for life" (the strength style and character part will be explained a little later; the "Purposefully" refers to both meaning (M) and accomplishment and achievement (A) in our PERMA-V model). This brings us to our wellness model that links up well with the PERMA-V model, but adds more depth to certain aspects - it represents the "well" in FlourishWell4Life, although the "well" also refers to the way we want our students and clients to flourish!
Our model of wellness is based on Dr Bill Hettler's model with six wellness dimensions. Wellness means to healthy, happy and well-adjusted in all facets of your life. These facets include your physical, emotional, intellectual, occupational, social and spiritual wellness (the six dimensions). When one takes responsibility for one's own wellness, you increase you chances of success in life areas such as your studies and your career. Our services have the goal of facilitating this. Both our PERMA-V and wellness applications target positive shifts on the -10 to 10 spectrum: From not-okay to okay, but also from okay or well to GREAT and flourishing! Our cognitive behavioral therapy selfhelp applications also promotes this shifts, but are probably more used to get you from not-okay to okay - used in combination with the PERMA-V and wellness applications this could be very powerful.
Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) has a significant part to play in Positive Psychology, and our approach, and it is really easy to learn and use, even as a selfhelp tool. CBT is the approach with the best evidence to help with resilience and dealing with emotional difficulties (difficulties like depression and anxiety, for example, that fall on the -10 to 0 spectrum of mental health). CBT includes traditional CBT, which aims to change thoughts and behaviours, and third wave CBT, which aims for mindfulness and committed value-directed action. Traditional CBT involves understanding and then changing unhelpful thoughts and behaviours. Third-wave CBT focuses more on being aware of difficult thoughts rather than challenging them directly (mindfulness) and on helping us be aware of what matters to us and take committed actions to achieve it. CBT adds great value to both our PERMA-V and wellness models.
Another important building block within our approach comes from neuroscience: Neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity, also known as brain plasticity, is defined by Wikipedia as an umbrella term that encompasses both synaptic plasticity and non-synaptic plasticity - it refers to changes in neural pathways and synapses due to changes in behavior, environment, neural processes, thinking, and emotions (under our control, at least some of the time)- as well as to changes resulting from bodily injury. The concept of neuroplasticity has replaced the formerly-held position that the brain is a physiologically static organ, and explores how - and in which ways - the brain changes in the course of a lifetime. Neuroplasticity has important implications for the formulation of a philosophy about what is possible in terms of the development of human potential. FlourishWell4Life specifically endorses the so-called Untapped Potential Paradigm (that is based on neoroplasticity), as it is defined by Conyers and Wilson in "Positively Smarter", and repeated below.
The assumptions of this paradigm (what we think about our potential to achieve), its behaviors (how we act) and its consequences or outcomes (how we act leads to certain outcomes) is defined below.
FlourishWell4Life endorses the assumptions of this paradigm, spelled out below, and believes that our products and services can make a valuable contribution to help realize these:
Behavior: Child development, education and workplace systems focus on creating opportunities for all to develop their skills and abilities. We believe that FlourishWell4Life for Individuals, FlourishWell4Life @ Education, FlourishWell4Life @ Work and FlourishWell4Life @ Sport can help to facilitate this growth.
Consequences or outomes of implementing this paradigm: Many more people realize higher levels of achievement (our dream for our students and clients). Because people are more confident of their abilities to improve with effort, people put in the hard work necessary to do so, and receive encouragement from others in their endeavors. People are also ambitious and learn and employ useful strategies to help achieve their goals.
Our e-products, e-coaching- and membership services, as well as our workshops (all explained later), empower our students and clients to purposefully and energetically flourish well for life with style, strength and character. The "purposefully and energetically flourish well"-explanation is the focus of this page. The "For Life with Strength, Style and Character" part is defined next..
To live a PERMA-V-driven and well life requires a lifetime commitment, in the same way that an active lifetyle requires a commitment to a lifetime of regular physical exercise. FlourishWell4Life therefore intents to offer our students and clients, in the future, the option of subscribing to a forever membership option that will give them unlimited access to all the developmental resources on our site, as well as their own individualized FlourishWell4Life membership sites where all their interactions with the site will be available, forever. This also includes data from all their trackers, their journal entries and their assessment scores. All the detail about the different memberships, the developmental resources and the individualized membership sites are available elsewhere on the site.
A strength can be defined as something you are good at and enjoy doing. In her excellent book "Your Strengths Blueprint: How to be Engaged, Energized, and Happy at Work" Michelle McQuaid defines strengths more formally as:
"Strengths are patterns of thinking, feeling, or behaving that, when exercised, will excite, engage, and energize you, and allow you to perform at your optimim level."
This sounds exactly like flourishing! We therefore also offer strength-based products and services. They add additional value and equip and empower our students and clients to develop their potential, to shine and to flourish well with strength!
Note: Our strength-based approach/services are based on all the major theories: Strengths Finder from Gallup, the Values in Action (VIA) Survey, and Alex Linley's Realise2.
Why should we all invest in developing our strengths? McQuad's major findings in this regard are summarised in the table below - enough reason for us to add strenghts as an additional phrase in our motto!
|Way in which strengths benefits you||Aspect with positive effect|
|Supporting your well-being||Mental health|
|Satisfaction with life|
|Boosting your performance||Confidence|
|Growth and development|
|Job meaning and satisaction|
|Improving the bottom-line||Employee engagement|
When we refer to style we actually refer to personality style. In order to understand our special emphasis on it, it is necessary to know a little bit about the latest findings in personality research. There is consensus among personality researchers that the diverse ways we differ in personality can be effectively reduced to five major factors, the so-called Big Five:
The acronym CANOE is used to refer to this BIg Five. These terms are not meant to signify types of people in which one is or is not, say, an extravert or a neurotic; rather the Big Five traits are dimensions along which all people can be placed, with most falling in the middle regions and others spread out along the full range of scores.
Brian Little reports in his classic "Me, Myself and Us" that there is clear evidence that each of these dimensions of personality has a genetic component accounting for 50% of the variation between people on each trait. It is also clear that how people score on these dimensions of personality has important consequences for happiness, health, and human achievement - all core components of well-being. Your personality therefore has an important influence on how you will flourish best, and it is therefore crucial that you know the advantages and disadvantages of each of he Big Five factors so that you can optimize your well-being / flourishing. Applying the Untapped Potential Paradigm to your personality (remember only 50% is genetic) may help you to further optimize your well-being. FlourishWell4Life includes training programmes on the Big Five that enable our students and clients to flourish well with style!
According to Abraham Maslow's "hierarchy of needs" theory (and pyramid) human beings possess physical needs, emotional needs, mental needs and spiritual needs. The Human Performance Institute (HPI) in Orlando, Florida, under the leadership of Jim Loehr (author of "The Only Way to Win" and "The Power of Full Engagement"), modified Maslow's idea and their resulting pyramid models these four needs as well as ways how they can be satisied. Physical needs are positioned at the base of the pyramid because they are foundational to healthy development and personal fulfillment. The higher one moves up the pyramid, the more important the needs are for optimizing personal happiness and healthy development. Performace and moral character strengths are key to achieve this optimal state of well-being, or self-actualization as Maslow called his apex. Performance character strengths assist in meeting emotional and mental needs, while moral strengths assist in meeting spiritual needs. In "The Only Way to Win" Jim Loehr outlines a character building program that explains exactly how these performance and character strengths can be developed. A mind map variation of HPI's pyramid is depicted below. FlourishWell4Life endorses and builds upon this model of human and character development and the research been done at HPI. HPI's approach complements our overall philosophy. Since it also emphasizes such a crucial element of well-being development we reasoned that it merits a separate phrase in our vision statement that refers specifically to this kind of character development - flourish well for life with character!
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Life is too short not to shine on your journey!