Human flourishing, which is also known as personal fulfillment, can be defined as a subjective state in which a person’s experiences comply with dimensions of wellbeing that are highly valued. The state of human flourishing determines the happiness, longevity, and prosperity of both the individual and the entire nation. However, in recent years, there has been a steady tendency of deterioration in the wellbeing of the world population (Little, Salmela-Aro, & Phillips, 2017). At the same time, long-term emotional overstrain is one of the main obstacles to human flourishing. Being connected with stress syndrome, it disturbs the normal human state of health as well as provokes discomfort and illness. Therefore, human flourishing, in which individuals have adequate resources and opportunities that are compatible with their personally-oriented pursuits, is crucial for the overall wellbeing.
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It is hard to provide a single and universal definition of human flourishing since it has various meanings in different disciplines. Within the transdisciplinary approach to a study of human flourishing, the three main areas include public health, psychology, and performance art (Joseph, 2015). In the public health sector, human flourishing focuses on physical health, mental health, and access to resources, which include healthy food and health insurance (Joseph, 2015, p. 95). In the field of psychology, it comprises value alignment, autonomy, competence, and relatedness of humans (Joseph, 2015, p. 142). Finally, in the field of performance art, this concept is connected with competency, personal ambition, and creative freedom (Joseph, 2015, p. 166). Our rationale takes the mixed angle of the transdisciplinary approach, focusing on all aspects of human flourishing.
Physical health is essential for a human being to flourish, as it allows them to exercise their abilities and enjoy themselves to the fullest. People with severe ailments or disabilities can still be happy, but it is more challenging for them. Mental health is also critical, as the person’s perception of their state affects their happiness. According to VanderWeele (2017), it correlates strongly with happiness and life satisfaction. However, people are generally incapable of maintaining these characteristics on their own. As such, the community has to provide them with resources such as food and access to healthcare, expressed as health insurance. Both healthy eating habits and access to appropriate aid can help one remain in good health and recover from issues.
People can achieve happiness if they work towards it with a specific set of values. Notably, they should do so on their own, though others should try to help them along their way. As such, the community must teach them the competence necessary to flourish. Joseph (2015) highlights the nature of people as social beings and notes that they should provide each other with companionship. Lastly, performance art is closely associated with psychology. While people should be autonomous, they will not work towards flourishing if they do not have the appropriate ambition. They should also possess creative freedom and the ability to express themselves to attain fulfillment.
The various aspects of human flourishing are interconnected and work towards the sake of maximizing a person’s physical and mental health as well as their ability and inclination to strive towards happiness. Society should make sure that everyone has access to critical needs such as food and healthcare without intruding on lives excessively. Instead, it should nurture autonomy and the values as well as the ambition necessary for one to work towards fulfillment. While it is challenging to achieve such a balance, all social workers try to achieve this goal.
Alexander, G. S. (2018). Property and human flourishing. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.
Durden-Myers, E. J., Whitehead, M. E., & Pot, N. (2018). Physical literacy and human flourishing. Journal of Teaching in Physical Education, 37(3), 308-311.
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Joseph, S. (2015). Positive psychology in practice: Promoting human flourishing in work, health, and education. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.
Little, B. R., Salmela-Aro, K., & Phillips, S. D. (2017). Personal project pursuit: Goals, action, and human flourishing. London, England: Psychology Press.
VanderWeele, T.J. (2017). On the promotion of human flourishing. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, 114(31), 8148-8156.