Professor of the Practice of Law University of Denver Sturm College of Law

7 Characteristics to Thrive

It’s winter and we are still in a pandemic. 

Sometimes we feel like we are simply surviving, and far from thriving.  We may be languishing, which has been described as the absence of mental health, or a series of emotions including apathy, stagnation, disinterest, emptiness, numbness, and burnout. 

Psychology research has revealed that certain characteristics or skills can move you closer to the thriving end of the spectrum.  They can help you deal with stress and adversity, and to persist with challenges.

Takeaway:  These seven characteristics can help you thrive:

  1. Positive Perspective – having an optimistic attitude and hope for the future. 
  2. Spirituality – having a sense of meaning and purpose, and feeling connected to the universe in a meaningful way.
  3. Proactive Personality – having the courage and perseverance to take on challenges.
  4. Motivation – the desire to develop new skills, knowledge, and ideas due to curiosity and love of learning.
  5. Life-long Learning Mindset – the desire for growth.
  6. Resilience – flexibility, adaptability, perseverance, and viewing obstacles as opportunities for growth.
  7. Social Competence – connecting with others and benefitting from social support.


Corey Keyes, The Mental Health Continuum: From Languishing to Flourishing in Life, J Health Soc Behav, 2002 Jun;43(2):207-22.,

Sarah Fielding, Languishing is the Mood of 2021, Very Well Mind, Sept. 29, 2021,

Ryan Niemiec, You Need These 7 Things to Thrive, Research Says, VIA Institute on Character, Nov. 20, 2017,

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