How can positive psychology’s model of wellbeing help you to live a life of happiness and fulfilment?
I help women by guiding and motivating them to create positive, long-lasting changes so that they can live a healthier and happier life. Together, we go on a journey of self-discovery where they create goal-focused solutions, enabling them to unlock positive outcomes and enhance their overall sense of wellbeing. We achieve this by using tools and techniques based on the basic principles of CBT and positive psychology’s model of wellbeing.
Last month’s blog was about Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) Coaching. This month’s blog is about positive psychology’s model of wellbeing (PERMA) and how it can enhance your overall sense of wellbeing.
Positive psychology is a scientific approach to studying human thoughts, feelings and behaviour. The focus is on strengths instead of weaknesses, the good in life instead of the bad, the great in us instead of the struggle. This is done by identifying positive events and influences in our lives, such as positive experiences (like happiness, joy, inspiration and love) and positive states and traits (like gratitude, resilience and compassion).
Positive psychology’s model of wellbeing
Martin Seligman is one of the founders of positive psychology’s model of wellbeing. He developed the five elements of the model called PERMA. Seligman believes these five elements of wellbeing can help people work towards a life of fulfilment, happiness and meaning.
(diagram by Mariana Pascha, Psychologist, BSc.)
Feeling good, optimism and joy.
Positive emotion is, perhaps, the most obvious connection to happiness. Focusing on positive emotions is much more than just smiling. It is the ability to remain optimistic by viewing your past, present and future from a constructive perspective. This feeling of optimism will inspire you to be more creative and take more chances in life. This positive viewpoint will help you to develop healthier relationships and a happier working life. Positive emotions help you to do this by ensuring you enjoy the daily tasks in your life. This leads you to persevere with challenges you face by remaining optimistic about eventual outcomes. But doing this is not as easy as it sounds. It involves a major shift in in habits and how you see the world.
(model of ‘flow’ from Mihally Csikszentmihalyi)
Fulfilling work, interesting hobbies and being in the state of ‘flow’.
We all need something in our lives that absorbs us into the present moment by creating a ‘flow’ of blissful immersion into a task or activity. This can be anything from playing an instrument or sport to dancing or working on an interesting project at work. When you lose track of time, concentration is complete and effortless, and your worries disappear. This is because your body floods with positive neurotransmitters and happy hormones. This creates a feeling of calm, focus and joy. It also stretches your intelligence, skills and emotional capabilities. The more you can engineer ‘flow’ experiences in your life, the greater your wellbeing will be.
Social connections, love, intimacy, emotional and physical interactions.
Relationships and social connections are the strongest predictor of life satisfaction. We are social animals who are hardwired to bond with other humans. We thrive on connections that promote love, intimacy and a strong emotional and physical interaction with other people. Positive relationships with parents, siblings, peers, co-workers and friends are key ingredients to overall joy. Strong relationships also provide support in difficult times that require resilience. You need, neurologically, to know that you belong to a group. It helps you to feel safe and valued. The good news is that positive relationships can be intentionally nurtured and improved.
Having a purpose and finding a meaning in life.
Religion and spirituality provide many people with meaning, as can working for a good company, raising children, volunteering for a greater cause and expressing ourselves creatively. Meaning provides us with the necessary ‘bedrock foundation’ that enables us to be more resilient and bounce back from adversity. It also gives us a sense of direction, enabling us to set goals and targets to aim for. Unfortunately, the media worships glamour and the pursuit of material wealth, making many people feel like money is the gateway to happiness. While you do need money to pay for basic needs, once those basic needs are met and financial stress is not an issue, money is unlikely to bring you longterm happiness.
Ambition, realistic goals, important achievements and pride in yourself.
Having goals and ambition in life can help you to achieve things that give you a sense of accomplishment. To set and reach a goal is the most effective path to accomplishment, no matter how big or small it might be. That’s because there is a deep sense of satisfaction that comes from reflecting on your ability to initiate change and see the results. Just putting in the effort to achieve your goals will give you a sense of satisfaction, and when you finally achieve those goals, you will have a sense of pride and fulfilment. Having goals in life is important to push yourself to thrive and flourish. Accomplishment is deeply biological in nature – a core part of our being.
How to apply the PERMA model of wellbeing to your life
As your Wellbeing Life Coach, I can help you to integrate the PERMA model of wellbeing into your daily life by encouraging you to try new things.
Are you up for the challenge?