Framework 86 PERMA


This involves the 5 core elements of psychological well-being and happiness. It was developed by Martin Seligman (one of the founders of positive psychology). It is believed that these 5 elements can help people work towards a life of fulfilment, happiness and meaning.

In summary, PERMA stands for

P = positive emotions (feeling good, positive emotions, optimism, pleasure and enjoyment)

E = engagement (fulfilling work, interesting hobbies and in the "flow", ie when your higher strength just matches your highest challenge)

R = relationships (social connections, love, intimacy, emotional and physical interaction)

M = meaning (having a purpose, find meaning in life)

A = accomplishments (ambition, realistic goals, important achievements, pride in yourself, mastery)


More comments on PERMA

1. Positive Emotions

Part of this is being happy and cheerful (include smiling). Cheerfulness follows a normal distribution and has a genetic basis, ie it is 50% hereditary.

It involves being optimistic and viewing one's past, present and future from a constructive perspective.

It is felt that a positive view can help in relationships and work, and inspire others to be more creative and take more chances. In everyday life there are "highs" and "lows". Focusing on the lows can increase your chances of developing depression.

There are many health benefits to optimism and positivity.

It is more about enjoyment and pleasure. Pleasure is about satisfying needs for basic survival like first, hunger and sleep. However enjoyment comes from intellectual stimulation and creativity.
Positive emotions are crucial as they help people enjoy the daily tasks of their lives and to persevere with challenges faced by remaining optimistic about eventual outcomes.

2. Engagement

This is linked with your highest character strengths, ie what you like doing. When doing these activities, positive neurotransmitters and hormones travel throughout the body and promote well-being, ie being calm, focused and experiencing joy. When we are in this state time seems "to fly". We become fully absorbed in the activity and blissfully immersed. This type of engagement stretches our intelligence, skills and emotional capabilities.

3. Relationships

Relationships and social connections are critical to a meaningful life. In some societies, the bias towards individuality goes against our natural instincts of being social animals who are hardwired to bond and depend on other humans, ie healthy relationships.

"...We thrive on connections that promote love, intimacy and a strong emotional and physical interaction with other humans. Positive relationships with one's parents, siblings, peers, co-workers and friends is a key ingredient to overall joy. Strong relationships also provide support in difficult times that require resilience..."

Martin Seligman 2012

4. Meaning

Having a concise answer to the question "why are we on earth?" can be a strong driver to fulfilment.

"...religion and spirituality provide many people with meaning, as can workingwill for a good company, raising children, volunteering for a greater cause, and expressing ourselves creatively..."

Martin Seligman 2012

For some people the pursuit of happiness is through glamour and material wealth. Money is not the gateway to happiness. Once basic needs are met, money is not what provides people with happiness.

NB Life's purpose is more than about self

5. Accomplishments

Having goals and ambitions can help us achieve things and give us satisfaction when accomplished. These achievements need to be celebrated as positive milestones in life will lived.

How to apply this to your organisation/community and life

- remember to adopt a positive perspective as often as you can

- find the things that make you happy and engage

- focus on your relationships with family, work colleagues and friends; find ways to connect

- search for meaning and leading a purpose in life

- celebrate your accomplishments and strive for more


- people with strong beliefs and a healthy lifestyle live longer than those who don't.

- the characteristics of emotional intelligence (EQ) are twice as important as IQ in developing happiness and wellness

(source: Martin Seligman, 2012)


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