The term “flourish” is synonymous with "well-being".
In positive psychology, flourishing includes much more than a happy feeling.
The Theory of Well-Being has 5 unique components which can be strengthened to improve overall well-being.
*Vitality is not a component of the official Theory of Well-Being, but other positive psychologists recognize it as an important part of well-being.
The skills that build the foundation for flourishing are different from the skills that treat illnesses.
Human strengths, excellence, and flourishing are just as authentic as human distress. People want to cultivate the best version of themselves and live a meaningful life. They want to grow their capacities for love and compassion, creativity and curiosity, work and resilience, and integrity and wisdom.
The first element of the PERMA model is positive emotion. It is what we typically imagine when we think about happiness and life satisfaction, but happiness is only one of many positive emotions. There’s also joy, contentment, love, inspiration, pride, and courage (among dozens more).
Encouraging positive emotions such as through savoring the moment, expressing gratitude, and visualization, we can change the way we think to better the way we feel about life.
This portion of the PERMA model isn’t about being happy all of the time, but being able to have an optimistic outlook and find resiliency even through stressful and uncomfortable situations.
Although genetic dispositions do play a role in our mood, research has shown that we can teach ourselves how to be happier,especially if we integrate the other pillars of PERMA.
Engagement refers to being so completely absorbed with an activity that self-consciousness is lost. Another term for this is flow. Learning occurs in the state of flow when your strengths are equally matched with challenges.
Engagement provides the opportunity for using your greatest strengths and skills. It can be strengthened through mindfulness, enjoyable hobbies, being in nature, and learning more about your own strengths.
Relationships are in reference to much more than your significant other. It can be the relationship you have with your friends, family, co-workers, clients, and community.
As social beings, having positive relationships is innately important. Although the ability to build relationships is partially related to genetics, research has shown that it can be a skill that can be taught.
Meaning calls attention to this need to be a part of something greater than the self. There is an unavoidable desire in adults to have this in their life. People want to feel valuable and in touch with their true self. Purpose gives guidance to life’s many paths, and is essential when facing difficult challenges.
The best part about meaning is that it is so unique to everyone, and can be found in a dozen places. Some people build purpose through their career while others find it through their family.
Religion, creativity, politics, and community are just a few of the areas where people begin to weave meaning into their life. By taking a look into your personal values, you can become closer to your calling and find more meaning in your life.
Accomplishment brings a sense of satisfaction to life and boosts self-esteem. It is shown as proof of competence and self-discipline. An unwavering perseverance towards a goal is also known as grit.
Grit is a characteristic of many successful people. This is valuable information because it tells us that it is not the person’s innate capabilities that separates them from the rest, but their persistency in never giving up.
Psychologists have found that self-discipline is twice as important as IQ for measures of success.
Vitality is not officially a part of the PERMA model, but it is undeniably essential. Some organizations have included this in addition to the PERMA model which is termed “PERMA+”.
Vitality encompasses overall physical well-being with physical health, sleep, and nutrition. There is a strong link between the body and the brain, and they both must be taken care of for having an optimal life.
When physical ailments such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes plague our bodies, there is an increase in depression, low self-esteem, and poor social skills. While not all medical illnesses can be prevented, there is a large percentage that can be avoided or managed through healthy habits such as a better diet and regular exercise.