Today, I’m going to talk about the PERMA Model of Happiness. So, the basic question is: According to scientific researches and studies what leads to human happiness, flourishing, and well-being?
Hi. It’s Dr. Shahab Anari, co-author with Brian Tracy of the best-selling book “Ignite your life”.
Dr. Martin Seligman, a founding father of Positive Psychology, developed the PERMA theory to answer this question.
PERMA is an acronym that actually consists of five different words. And these five words constitute the roots to well-being, flourishing and happiness. So, what are these five words?
The first one, P, stands for Positive Emotions. And it’s no surprise that positive emotions can lead to a happier life. So, positive emotions such as joy, gratitude, cheerfulness. Obviously, these lead to a higher level of happiness and a lower level of depression. So, the basic question is: How can we cultivate and enhance these positive emotions in our personal and professional lives?
Dr. Barbara Fredrickson, a leading authority on the topic, says that positive emotions can actually broaden and build. They can broaden our thinking and creativity and can build resources for us in order to be happier and more successful.
So, the second letter in the PERMA acronym stands for Engagement & Flow. And what does that mean?
Engagement & Flow refers to a state where time stops. You are so immersed in the task at hand that you lose track of time.
Dr. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a leading authority on the topic of flow, says that when you are so immersed in the topic, when you are playing a musical instrument, you are engaging with a deep conversation, you are reading a very entertaining book, and you lose track of time. In a sense that you are devoid of emotions and cognitions. You are just present in the moment and you are enjoying the present moment. And this is very conducive to higher level of happiness and we can always cultivate the state of flow in our lives.
The third letter in the acronym PERMA is R which stands for Relationships. Who would not agree that good relationships lead to higher levels of happiness, well-being and flourishing? So, the key question here is: How can we cultivate and enhance our relationships in our personal lives, in our family lives, with friends, with families, with colleagues and who ever we come in to contact with?
The forth letter in the acronym PERMA is M which stands for Meaning and Purpose. This means committing to doing something for the greater good, the bigger cause. It’s one thing to do, a task, a job, for selfish reasons and another, to do it as a calling for the greater good.
This relates to doing stuff for your religion, for your community, for the overall good in the world, maybe for your family. And it’s kind of transcends the eagles, it’s not something selfish, it’s something for the greater good and the bigger cause. So, how can you cultivate that meaning and purpose in your job, in your life and in your everyday deeds and tasks?
And finally, the fifth letter of the word PERMA is A which actually stands for Accomplishment and Achievement. And it’s been shown over and over again in scientific researches and studies that accomplishment and goals actually lead to higher level of happiness and well-being. And a leading authority on the topic is Dr. Angela Duckworth who has researched and studied goal setting and grit and self-discipline for long time. And, it has been shown that self-discipline is the key factor and inducing grit and finally accomplishing and achieving goals. So, if you want to go about mastering that A, the accomplishment and achievement part of PERMA theory, you should cultivate that habit of self-discipline.
So, to recap the five key roots of the PERMA theory that lead to happiness, well-being and flourishing and human-beings are actually Positive Emotions, Engagement and Flow, good Relationships, Meaning and Purpose, and eventually Accomplishment and Achievement.
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