Thursday, December 2News That Matters

Are You Flourishing?

Welcome. What would it take for you to flourish? To wake up eager to begin the day rather than burrow back into the covers? Flourishing — a combination of physical, emotional and mental well-being — is the opposite of languishing, that joyless blah feeling that’s been a feature of recent months for so many of us.

After more than a year spent mostly at home, spent apart from people we love, lives in crisis or on pause, a state of flourishing can feel remote. Take our quiz, see if it’s not more attainable than you suspect. As the organizational psychologist Adam Grant wrote, about languishing, “Psychologists find that one of the best strategies for managing emotions is to name them.”

The quiz breaks down flourishing into its component parts, asks you to evaluate different areas of your life, to interrogate your experience. When you’re having a difficult time even articulating what might be troubling you, questions like these — a rough checklist for describing how you’re feeling — can help.

I think you might feel a bit more joyful today if you check out “5 Minutes That Will Make You Love Choral Music” and listen to “Christus factus est,” the Gregorian chant selected by Marcos Pavan, the Sistine Chapel Choir director. Or perhaps this article about “the furniture equivalent of sweatpants,” oversize plush couches and chairs “that would have seemed profane to devoted modernists just a few years ago” will help. Certainly Dorie Greenspan’s jam-filled gâteau Basque couldn’t hurt: “It has a bit of crunch and a bit of chew, like a thick cookie; it’s caramelish around the edges, where it browns a little more. It has a satisfying plainness to it — the primal attraction of butter, flour, sugar and eggs — which builds to irresistibility after a few bites.” I’m in.

Ann Pelo in Montesano, Wash., recommends a song that perfectly sums up the past year for her. (We’ve added it to our quarantine playlist.)

I’ve had the quarantine playlist on steady play since it appeared, and have shared it with buddies. So many PERFECT songs! One addition: “The Long and Winding Road,” by the Beatles. It was on the radio the other night, and I found myself blinking back tears as I listened, feeling how well it captured the longing I’ve felt to be at the door of dear ones during the pandemic.

What’s bringing you joy? A resumption of “normal” life? A book or film or piece of music? A recent meal or a good conversation with a friend? Tell us: Include your name and location, please. We’re At Home. We’ll read every letter sent. As always, more ideas for leading a full and cultured life at home and near it appear below. I’ll see you on Friday.

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