Beyond Happiness: Flourishing-PERMA model
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Beyond Happiness: Flourishing-PERMA model


PERMA is a theory of well-being by Martin
Seligman, a psychologist who coined the term positive psychology in the late 1990’s. His theory is being used all over the United
States and the world with particular populations including the U.S. military and in public
education. The P in PERMA stands for Positive emotion. The range of positive emotions is vast. Tapping into positive emotions actually helps
improve health, life and relationships. Beauty, celebration, gentleness, courage,
awe, laughter, appreciation, joy, acceptance, kindness, and empathy are just some of the
many positive emotions that can be felt as a result of experiences we have. Can you think of a recent time or a time in
the past in which you felt positive emotions? When was it? What caused you to feel the positive emotions? Who or what was present if anyone or anything? The E in PERMA stands for Engagement or another
term is flow. Engagement is the experience of doing an activity
or task just for the experience of doing it for the sake of enjoyment rather than just
for a particular outcome. Flow is the mental state in which a person
who engages in an activity is fully immersed and absorbed in the process of the activity. Although Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi first named
the term, the concept has been referred across a variety of fields and within Eastern religious
practices. What activity / activities do you do where
you lose yourself in the activity for the pleasure of it? (Some examples might be playing an instrument,
jogging, reading, or other things). The R in PERMA stands for Relationships. Barbara Fredrickson in her book, Love 2.0,
discusses the healthy and amazing impact that having real and honest connections with another
person can have on the brain and a person’s well-being. We are all social beings and connection to
another person begins as early as the bond between a parent and their infant. When early attachments to a caregiver are
nurtured, the child can then grow up and form meaningful and fulfilling relationships in
their adult life as well as support others in finding connection as well. What relationships in your life mean the most
to you? How often do you spend time with these important
people? The M in PERMA stands for Meaning. Having time every day, in which your activities
feel as though they have a purpose, helps create meaning and as a result improves well-being. Reflect on what gives you meaning on a daily
basis. Does it overlap with other aspects of the
PERMA model, such as interacting with others perhaps through volunteer or service activities? The A in PERMA stands for Accomplishment. Accomplishment is an achievement that is pursued
for its own sake because one has a desire to master it, usually because of intrinsic
or internal motivation. Examples of small accomplishments might include
setting your alarm clock and only hitting snooze once versus 5 times, or grabbing an
apple instead of a bag of chips for a snack. Accomplishments can also be finishing a chore
or even larger, finishing a term in college. So whatever goal you set, the end leaves you
feeling better about yourself; reaching it is an accomplishment! What small or large things have you accomplished
recently? Who did you share or celebrate these accomplishments
with?

About Bill McCormick

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