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Boosting Your Well-Being: PERMA Well-Being Theory

How often do you think about your well-being? When you think about your well-being, what comes to mind?

The field of positive psychology has been active for several decades now, and has focused on “the good life” - what it means to be well and what humans pursue when we are well.

In this blog post, we will define a specific theory of well-being, PERMA Well-Being Theory. In later blog posts, we will unpack each element of the theory in more detail and provide practical exercises for enhancing your levels of well-being.

Martin Seligman, one of the individuals considered a founder of the field of positive psychology, introduced PERMA Well-Being Theory into the literature in 2011. PERMA is an acronym that stands for positive emotions, engagement, positive relationships, meaning, and accomplishment.

PERMA theory posits that the five elements: 1) can all be measured independently of one another, 2) all contribute to our overall well-being, and 3) are naturally pursued by human beings.

Positive emotions: Positive emotions include joy, awe, inspiration, serenity, pride (the good kind), love, amusement, interest, gratitude, hope, and the like. When we experience positive emotions, our well-being gets a little boost.

Did you know that gratitude is the positive emotion that we can most easily self-generate? When you next feel like your well-being could use a little boost, generate a list of three things you are grateful for (more to come on this in a later blog post).

Engagement: Engagement is a state of flow. A present moment experience during which we lose sense of time and any self-consciousness we might have. We are immersed in the experience.

When is the last time you experienced flow? What elements need to be present/absent in order for you to experience flow?

Positive Relationships: Positive relationships are the people in our lives that provide us with the most reliable ups in life and lift us back up when we are feeling down.

Who are your most positive relationships? At work? At school? At home?

Meaning: We experience meaning when we feel connected to something that is larger than the self. We find purpose/meaning in serving a greater cause.

Where do you find your sense of meaning? What provides you with a sense of purpose?

Accomplishment: Accomplishment of meaningful goals and milestones provides us with a boost of well-being. When did you last accomplish a big goal or milestone? Remember how good it made you feel?

Are you currently striving toward the accomplishment of a particular goal or milestone? Who/what is support you along the way? If you are looking for some support, please do not hesitate to reach out.


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