PERMA, the Theory of Well-Being, and How to Use it in Real Life

P – Positive Emotion

woman - positive emotion

This element of the model is one of the most obvious connections to happiness. Being able to focus on positive emotions is more than just smiling, it is the ability to be optimistic and view the past, present, and future in a positive perspective.

This positive view of life can help you in relationships, work, and inspire you to be more creative and take more chances. In everyone’s life, there are highs and lows, focusing on the lows increase your chances of developing depression, therefore, you should focus on the high and positive aspects of life. There are also many health benefits to optimism and positivity.

Distinguishing between pleasure and enjoyment is important in this element of the model. Pleasure is connected to satisfying bodily needs for survival; such as thirst, hunger, and sleep. Whereas enjoyment comes from intellectual stimulation and creativity, for example when a child completes a complex Lego car that requires his concentration, he will be beaming with joy and satisfaction from his work.

This type of positive emotion is critical. When you enjoy the tasks in your life, you’re more likely to persevere and battle challenges with creative and alternative solutions.

E – Engagement

man playing guitar - engagement

It is important in our lives to be able to find activities that needs our full engagement.

Engagement in the activities in our lives is important for us to learn, grow and nurture our personal happiness.

Everyone is different and we all find enjoyment in different things whether it’s playing an instrument, playing a sport, dancing, working on an interesting project at work, or even just a hobby.

We all need something in our lives that entirely absorbs us into the present moment, creating a ‘flow’ of blissful immersion into the task or activity.

This type of ‘flow’ of engagement is important to stretch our intelligence, skills, and emotional capabilities.

R – Relationships

family - relationships

Relationships and social connections are one of the most important aspect of life. Humans are social animals that thrive on connection, love, intimacy, and a strong emotional and physical interaction with other humans.

Building positive relationships with your parents, siblings, peers, and friends are important to spread love and joy. Having strong relationships gives you support in difficult times.

In an interview with Dr. Mitch Printein about his work on the psychology of popularity, he mentioned that there has been researching that shows that pain centers in our brain become activated when we are at risk of being isolated.

This is because, in an evolutionary perspective, isolation would be the worse thing we could do for survival.

M – Meaning

Having a purpose and meaning to why each of us is on this earth is important to living a life of happiness and fulfillment.

Rather than the pursuit of pleasure and material wealth, there is an actual meaning to our life.

Such meaning gives people a reason for their life and that there is a greater purpose to life.

To understand the greater impact of your work and why you chose to the pursuit that work will help you enjoy the tasks more and become more satisfied and happier.

A – Accomplishments

man on shore - accomplishments

Having goals and ambition in life can help us to achieve things that can give us a sense of accomplishment.

You should make realistic goals that can be met.

Then put in effort toward achieving them.

Just putting in the effort to achieving those goals can already give you a sense of satisfaction.

When you finally achieve those goals, a sense of pride and fulfillment will be reached.

Having accomplishments in life is important to push ourselves to thrive and flourish.

How to Apply the PERMA Model in Your Life

Being aware of the PERMA model is the first step to applying this theory to your life. Keep referring back to the 5 elements of the model to help you apply it to each aspect of your life. Remember to think in a positive perspective at home and at work.

Find the things that make you happy and can make you fully engaged. You could even put goals to achieving more and challenging yourself in the activities you enjoy.

Focus on your relationships with your family and friends by finding ways to connect and enjoy each others company.

Find the meaning to your life and what gives you a sense of purpose.

It’s different for everyone.