Towards the end of 2021, Karen Holford, Trans-European Division’s [TED] Family, Women, and Children’s Ministries director, found herself teaching about emotional intelligence almost every week for several months. Realising there was a great need for teaching on the topic of wellbeing and managing emotions, she began creating Flourish!, a resource designed to help people “Choose well, think well, and live well.”
Flourish! is a set of posters, each containing ten simple ways to experience a positive emotion. These enjoyable activities can “help you rebalance your emotions when you are feeling stressed, afraid, sad, angry, frustrated, ashamed, or guilty,” said Holford. Draining emotions can suck the energy and joy out of life, “but we can help to counterbalance the effect of these heavy emotions by choosing to experience gratitude, joy, peace, inspiration, wonder, laughter, and hope.” Doing something creative, kind, or meaningful can also help restore balance. Therefore, Flourish! is packed with creative ideas, most of which need no special equipment (maybe just a pencil and paper), so they can be done anywhere.
Flourish! also includes a selection of journaling pages for teens and adults to help them reflect on their positive emotions, as well as special posters for children. Every time they engage with one of the Flourish! activities, they can colour in a leaf on the tree, use a leaf sticker, or cut out a leaf shape from green paper to add to the branches and help the tree flourish.
“I discovered the benefits of choosing to experience positive emotions when I was commissioned to do a project on rebalancing emotions to help children’s mental health,” Holford shared. “I learned to recognise when my emotions were tipping towards the negative side and to try doing simple activities to rebalance myself.” Holford realised the apostle Paul was referring to this when he wrote about thinking positive thoughts to the Philippians. “This is how he stayed so positive when he was in jail, on death row … In the last chapter of his letter, he describes how he chooses to be grateful, joyful, peaceful, praising, and contented.”
To support ADRA (Adventist Development and Relief Agency) volunteers working with people displaced by the war in Ukraine, Holford added some extra posters. These new posters are designed to help people dealing with traumatic and challenging days, as well as those listening and aiding.
Find more information about Flourish! here. There are posters to download and print to use at home, in churches, schools, and workplaces. The ideas can also be included in church newsletters and publications. If you would like to translate the ideas, editable files are
available in different formats. Please contact Heidi Kamal Kendel at [email protected].