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Learn to Be Well: Flourish


Fortunately, a wealth of reliable information that can help you learn to live your best life is available.

  • Look for the bookmark icon πŸ”– for free online resources that will support your development of these skills, mindsets, and practices.
  • A limited number of highly curated resources that have a cost are indicated with the dollar icon πŸ’΅.

Keep in mind that this is a starting point, and you won't be able to learn and implement everything all at once. Consider working through these topics gradually and keeping a journal that documents your progress and reflects on your practices. You can continue to leverage the reliable sources referenced here as well as your information literacy skills to continue your wellbeing journey and explore additional topics over time. 

Implementation Intentions

Also known as "If-Then Planning," implementation intentions are a proven way to change behaviors and therefore an effective method for transforming the practices in this guide into habits. 

πŸ”– Using Implementation Intentions to Achieve Your Goals

For example, "If I get overwhelmed by ______, I will use ______ coping strategy."

Emotion Regulation

Emotion regulation is how individuals influence which emotions they have, when they have them, and how they experience and express them.

-Stanford Psychologist James Gross

πŸ”– Six Key Skills to Regulate Emotions

πŸ”– Three Strategies to Regulate Emotions

Healthy Coping

Coping is the use of one or various types of mechanisms that are intended to reduce psychological stress. These dynamic responses may be classified into effective/ ineffective or adaptive/ maladaptive strategies. 

πŸ”– Healthy Coping: 24 Mechanisms & Skills For Positive Coping

Tolerating Negative Emotions

Learning to accept negative emotions is an effective way of managing these difficult feelings. Acceptance means acknowledging that we are feeling afraid, angry, sad, or frustrated. Instead of trying to avoid or suppress these feelings, you allow them to exist without dwelling on them.

πŸ”– How to Deal With Negative Emotions

πŸ”– Learning How to Process Negative Emotions

πŸ’΅ Worry Less, Live More: The Mindful Way Through Anxiety Workbook by Susan M. Orsillo, PhD and Lizabeth Roemer, PhD provides a blueprint to help you move through painful emotions without being ruled by them.

πŸ’΅ Unf#ck Your Brain: Using Science to Get Over Anxiety, Depression, Anger, Freak-outs, and Triggers by Dr. Faith Harper uses humor, makes the neuroscience understandable, and provides practical ways to retrain your brain.  

Emotional Granularity

Being able to accurately identify the emotion you're experiencing helps you process it. Drill down deeper than "happy, sad, or mad." 


πŸ”– How To Use The Emotion Wheel To Better Understand Your Feelings

πŸ”– Brené Brown's Atlas of the Heart - List of Emotions specifies 87 emotions and relates them to the human experience.

πŸ’΅ Her book and HBO/Max series of the same name dig deeper into the language of human experience. 


Savoring just means that we attempt to fully feel, enjoy, and extend our positive experiences. Savoring is a great way to develop a long-lasting stream of positive thoughts and emotions.

-Tchiki Davis, Ph.D., Psychology Today

πŸ”– What is Savoring? And Why Is It the Key to Happiness?

πŸ”– Savoring in Positive Psychology: 21 Tools to Appreciate Life


Much of our time and energy is spent pursuing things we currently don’t have. Gratitude reverses our priorities to help us appreciate the people and things we do.

-The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley

πŸ”– How Gratitude Changes You and Your Brain

πŸ”– Benefits of Gratitude: 28+ Surprising Research Findings

πŸ”– How to Practice Gratitude When You’re Not Feeling Thankful

Self Compassion

Scientific data shows that self-criticism makes us weaker in the face of failure, more emotional, and less likely to assimilate lessons from our failures. Studies are finding that there is a far better alternative to self-criticism: self-compassion.

-Stanford Medicine's Center for Compassion and Altruism Research and Education

πŸ”– The Scientific Benefits of Self-Compassion

πŸ”– How to Practice Self-Compassion: 8 Techniques and Tips

πŸ”– Fostering a Positive Self-Image

The ability to demonstrate empathy for others is inherently linked to the practice of self-compassion, meaning that we must first act compassionately toward our own struggles in order to express compassion to others.

-Brené Brown

πŸ”– The Self-Compassion Scale and Test


Spiritual wellness is connecting to your inner and outer worlds to support you in living your values and purpose. Many factors play a part in defining spirituality - religious faith, beliefs, values, ethics, principles and morals. Some gain spirituality by growing in their personal relationships with others, or through being at peace with nature. Spirituality allows us to find the inner calm and peace needed to get through whatever life brings, no matter what one's beliefs are or where they may be on your spiritual journey.

-University of New Hampshire 

πŸ”– Spiritual Wellness

Spirituality is recognizing and celebrating that we are all inextricably connected to each other by a power greater than all of us, and that our connection to that power and to one another is grounded in love and compassion. Practicing spirituality brings a sense of perspective, meaning, and purpose to our lives.

-Brené Brown, Defining Spirituality 

πŸ”– Living Into Our Values is an exercise to help you identify your core values and determine how to live by them. 

Human Needs and Dimensions of Wellness

These frameworks can aid us in understanding our own needs and help us identify areas of strength, barriers, and opportunities for growth on our journey toward fulfilment and wellbeing. 

Human Needs

Groundbreaking psychologist Abraham Maslow introduced a theory of human motivation that remains central to our understanding of human needs. When needs at the base of the hierarchy are unmet, it can be difficult or impossible for people to reach self-actualization. 

Learn more about Maslow's Hieracrhy of Needs from VeryWell Mind. This resource includes a video that provides a helpful overview for understanding this framework. 

Dimensions of Wellness

Rutgers psychologist Dr. Peggy Swarbrick defines wellness as "a conscious, deliberate process that requires a person to become aware of and make choices for a more satisfying lifestyle." She developed a 8-dimensional wellness model.



Connection & Belonging

Research has demonstrated the link between social relationships and many different aspects of health and wellness. Poor social support has been linked to depression and loneliness and has been shown to alter brain function and increase the risk of the alcohol use, cardiovascular disease, depression, and suicide.

-VeryWell Mind

πŸ”– How Social Support Contributes to Psychological Health

Loneliness isn’t just about being alone, per se. Solitude can actually be enjoyable and enriching, helping us to recharge. But when our social needs are not being met—either because we have few social connections or feel dissatisfied with the ones we have—that’s when loneliness can set in. And it can be painful—activating the same neural networks as physical pain.

-The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley

πŸ”– 11 Things to Do When You Feel Lonely

πŸ”– How to Feel Less Lonely and More Connected

πŸ”– How to Make the Lasting Friendships You Want

A sense of belonging involves more than simply being acquainted with other people. It is centered on gaining acceptance, attention, and support from members of the group as well as providing the same attention to other members.

-VeryWell Mind

πŸ”– How to Increase Your Sense of Belonging

πŸ”– How Biology Prepares Us for Love and Connection

Brené Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity.

πŸ”– Brené Brown: Belonging is the Opposite of 'Fitting In'


Mindfulness means maintaining a moment-by-moment awareness of our thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations, and surrounding environment, through a gentle, nurturing lens.

-The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley

Read about the evidence for practicing mindfulness, which has been shown to literally change our brains, increasing the density of gray matter in brain regions linked to learning, memory, emotion regulation, and empathy.

πŸ”– Why Practice Mindfulness?

Mindfulness is a simple practice. Learn how to get started. 

πŸ”– How Do I Cultivate Mindfulness?

πŸ”– 21 Ways to Practice Mindfulness


Meditation is the habitual process of training your mind to focus and redirect your thoughts.

-Matthew Thorpe, MD, PhD and Rachael Ajmera, MS, RD, Healthline

πŸ”– 12 Science-Based Benefits of Meditation

πŸ”– How to Meditate

Dan Harris, a former ABC News broadcaster who had a panic attack live, on air, talks about his journey to becoming a meditation 'guru' and shares a loving-kindness meditation practice.

πŸ’΅ The Calm App offers a large library of high-quality meditations based on your need (sleep, anxiety, stress, work, etc.) along with additional content like masterclasses from mindfulness experts, sleep stories, and video lessons for mindful movement. 

Meaningful Purpose

Research shows that individuals who have a strong sense of purpose and meaning in life tend to have better mental health, overall well-being, and cognitive functioning compared to those who lack a sense of purpose. Individuals with a sense of life purpose are less likely to have heart attacks, strokes, and dementia.

-Kristen Fuller, M.D., Psychology Today

πŸ”– How Creating a Sense of Purpose Can Impact Your Mental Health

πŸ”– How to Find Your Purpose in Life


From a stroll through a city park to a day spent hiking in the wilderness, exposure to nature has been linked to a host of benefits, including improved attention, lower stress, better mood, reduced risk of psychiatric disorders and even upticks in empathy and cooperation.

-Kirsten Weir, American Psychological Association 

πŸ”– Nurtured by Nature

πŸ”– 5 Ways to Reap the Mental Health Benefits of Getting Outside

Reference Points

The creation of high expectations for our social life, love life, and professional life has been demonstrated to be an impediment to our ability to be happy (Rutledge et al. 2014). For instance, our satisfaction depends not on how much money we earn but rather how much money we earn relative to our expectations about how much money we should earn.

-The University of British Columbia

πŸ”– The Danger of Reference Points

πŸ”– Reset Your Reference Points

Creative Expression

Studies have shown that expression through art can help people with depression, anxiety, and stress. Art has also been linked to improved memory, reasoning, and resilience in aging adults.

-University of Washington 

πŸ”– Art for Self-Care and Mental Health

Joyful Movement

Physical Activity can boost your mood, improve your sleep, and help you deal with depression, anxiety, and stress.

-Lawrence Robinson, Jeanne Segal, Ph.D. and Melinda Smith, M.A.,

πŸ”– The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise 

πŸ”– Beyond Body Positivity: What is Joyful Movement?

πŸ”– Exercise is Out, Joyful Movement Is In

πŸ”– Four Ways Dancing Makes You Happier


Existing research in the field of nutritional psychiatry suggests that our diet can affect our mental and emotional health. Food we eat affects our gastrointestinal systems, which are directly tied to our brains and the ways we process emotions.


πŸ”– Diet and Mental Health: Can What You Eat Affect How You Feel?

Novel Experiences

“There is a connection between novelty and happiness,” Dr. Laurie Santos, a cognitive scientist who teaches the wildly popular “Psychology and the Good Life” course at Yale, told me. “Novel stimuli tend to activate regions of our brain that are associated with rewards.” There’s more than just the dopamine rush, though. “Novel things also capture our attention … you’re more likely to notice things and be present,” Santos continued. “There’s lots of evidence that simply being more present can improve our mood and happiness.”

πŸ”– The Brain-Changing Magic of New Experiences

πŸ”– New and Diverse Experiences Linked to Enhanced Happiness

πŸ”– Spending on Experiences Versus Possessions Advances More Immediate Happiness


Research suggests that awe can make you happier, healthier, more humble, and more connected to the people around you.

-The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley

πŸ”– Eight Reasons Why Awe Makes Your Life Better

πŸ”– Awe: The 'little earthquake' that could free your mind


As social beings, we humans encompass both the desire to realize ourselves and the desire to be a meaningful part of a bigger whole. Both are an important part of a meaningful existence.

-Frank Martela, PhD

πŸ”– Exercise, Eat Well, Help Others: Altruism's Surprisingly Strong Health Impact

Healthy Striving

Most people experience an inner drive to improve their performance on some tasks, whether running a faster mile or earning a higher grade. Perfectionism, however, is not a healthy pursuit of excellence. Those who strive for excellence in a healthy way take genuine pleasure in trying to meet high standards. 

-University of Texas at Austin's Counseling & Mental Health Center

πŸ”– Perfectionism versus Healthy Striving

πŸ”– Why You Should Strive for Excellence, Not Perfection


Flow is one of life’s highly enjoyable states of being, wrapping us entirely in the present, and helping us be more creative, productive, and happy.

-Catherine Moore, Positive Psychology

πŸ”– What Is Flow in Positive Psychology? (Incl. 10+ Activities)

Flow is a state of mind in which a person becomes fully immersed in an activity.

- Kendra Cherry, VeryWell Mind

πŸ”– How to Achieve a State of Flow


The APA Dictionary describes flourishing as "a condition denoting good mental and physical health: the state of being free from illness and distress but, more important, of being filled with vitality and functioning well in one’s personal and social life." 

The 'father' of positive psychology, Martin Seligmen, has written a book about how to get the most out of life. 

πŸ’΅ Flourish: A Visionary New Understanding of Happiness and Wellbeing

Radical Acceptance

Sometimes life circumstances beyond your control can impact your wellbeing. Radical acceptance is a method for coping when you can't change or accept what's happening. It is not an easy practice but it does offer the hope for peace, since you cannot fight reality. 

πŸ”– What is Radical Acceptance? 

πŸ”– 16 Ways to Practice Radical Acceptance