Are You Flourishing?
|Chiropractic Care Can Help You Flourish
Health problems can make it more difficult to fully participate in life. For example, chronic back pain can make a person anxious and irritable. It can limit a person's activities, saps their energy and wastes valuable metabolic resources. Being in pain and the resulting physical limitations can also become emotionally draining.
Chiropractic care may offer significant benefits in the treatment of back pain and many other physical ailments. Gentle chiropractic treatment helps reduce pain by increasing mobility and lowering the inflammation in affected ligaments, tendons, and muscles. As the person's pain disappears, their interest in daily activities begins to expand. Reducing pain is an important factor in increasing involvement in life. As optimal health and physical functioning is restored, the person's ability to thrive and flourish is restored as well.
How do you decide how well your life is going? Whether you're fulfilled and happy vs. just going through the motions? Whether you're stagnant or instead expanding and developing yourself as an individual? To put it simply, do you awaken feeling excited at the prospect of a new day? Or do you instead wish that you could remain hidden beneath the blankets, putting off your daily routine for as long as possible?
"Flourishing" is a term long-used by philosophers to describe a state of ongoing positive engagement with life.1,2 When a person is flourishing, he or she is not only an engaged and interested participant in life, but also tends to expand and widen their range of experiences. Many of us think of our plants and gardens when we think of the word "flourishing". A plant or tree that is flourishing is replete with new branches, leaves and buds. The bark of a tree that is flourishing is often a deeper, richer shade of brown than one that is not. Its leaves will be a more vibrant green in the summer and display more intensely colored foliage in the fall. All the flourishing tree's semi-moving parts will be joyously turned toward the sun's life-giving rays.
Sociologists and Psychologists often characterize well-balanced individuals as happy. But "being happy" seems like a relatively passive state. Of course it's wonderful to be happy, but being happy is more of an emotional, subjective state of being. A person is happy in response to something else. In contrast, when a person is flourishing they are an active participant in creating their happiness. Someone who is flourishing is the initiator rather than the responder. They are in the driver's seat, and get to say how things are going to go.
So how can we achieve a state of flourishing? As always, it's the journey, not the destination, that provides the biggest payoff - in this case, a fulfilling, joyful life. Don't think of flourishing as an endpoint, but rather think of it as a moving target. We need to be proactive to replenish, reinvigorate, and revivify our lives each day. It takes some effort to live a full and satisfying life, rather than merely exist. Living this way requires imagination, interest, action and creativity. Flourishing is an outcome of taking an active and proactive role in one's life and participating fully in all the wonderful aspects of life.
1Menk OL, et al: Exploring measures of whole person wellness: integrative well-being and psychological flourishing. Explore (NY) 6(6):364-370, 2010
2Fosha D: Positive affects and the transformation of suffering into flourishing. Ann NY Acad Sci 1172:256-262, 2009