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Five Pillars of Happiness: Unveiling the Power of the PERMA Model

Why do we endlessly pursue happiness, akin to sailors seeking treasure in an endless ocean?

The quest for happiness has been a part of human existence for as long as we can remember, yet its meaning remains fluid and subjective. It covers a wide range of emotions and experiences, from brief moments of joy to profound states of contentment and fulfillment. Along our journey to find happiness, we encounter obstacles, setbacks, and uncertainties that can cloud our direction.


Imagine if there was a roadmap, a guide that could help you achieve a more fulfilling life? This is where the PERMA model comes in—a psychological framework designed to enhance well-being and lead us to a life that is not only happy but also deeply meaningful.





Decoding PERMA+: What is it?


In 2012, Dr. Seligman identified five components that individuals seek out because they are inherently motivating and enhance well-being. These elements are valued for their own sake and are assessed independently of one another. The five foundational elements are Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment, collectively known as PERMA. There are specific strategies to enhance each of these elements.


  1. Positive Emotion: what makes you feel good?

This aspect emphasizes experiencing positive feelings such as joy, gratitude, serenity, interest, and hope. Increasing positive emotions helps individuals build physical, intellectual, psychological, and social resources that lead to this resilience and overall wellbeing.

  1. Engagement: what “flow” activities make you lose track of time? 

It describes the state of deep engagement in an activity, where one is fully absorbed, challenged, and stimulated, creating a sense of 'flow'. When we engage in activities that match our skills and interests, time seems to fly by, and we experience a sense of deep satisfaction.

  1. Relationships: who brings you joy, peace and support?

Human beings are inherently social creatures, and meaningful connections with others play a vital role in our well-being. Nurturing supportive relationships, whether with family, friends, or community, provides us with a sense of belonging and support.

  1. Meaning: what causes and pursuits do you find important and worthwhile?

Having a sense of purpose and meaning in life goes beyond personal pleasure or success. It involves understanding our values and goals and aligning our actions with them. Meaning can be found in various aspects of life, including work, relationships, spirituality, and personal growth.

  1. Accomplishment: what are your goals? How can they be achieved?

 Setting and achieving goals, no matter how big or small, contributes to our sense of accomplishment. Progress and achievement not only boost our self-esteem but also provide motivation to pursue further goals and challenges.

Yet happiness goes beyond just these five elements, and the + can include other important areas we do well, such as optimism, nutrition, physical activity and sleep. These are areas equally important to mental wellbeing.


Embracing Permaliciousness: How to Apply PERMA in Your Life


Now that we’ve deciphered the PERMA model, the question arises: How can we embody “permaliciousness” in our daily lives? Here are some practical steps to integrate PERMA into your life:


Integrating the PERMA model into your daily life can significantly enhance your well-being and lead to a more fulfilling and meaningful existence. To cultivate Positive Emotion, start by practicing gratitude. Keep a daily journal where you note three things you are thankful for and reflect on why they matter to you. Additionally, savor positive experiences by practicing mindfulness meditation to fully engage with the present moment. Capture joyful moments through photography and create a visual gratitude album to remind yourself of these experiences.


For Engagement, identify activities that fully absorb you and bring you joy, such as painting, playing an instrument, or gardening. Schedule regular time for these hobbies to maintain a state of flow. Challenge yourself by starting new personal projects, such as learning a language or building a model, and set milestones to track your progress. Additionally, choose a skill you want to develop and set aside regular time to practice it, gradually increasing the difficulty to keep yourself engaged.


Building strong Relationships involves dedicating quality time to connect with loved ones. Spend uninterrupted time each day with family and friends, whether it’s through a meal, a walk, or a conversation. Practice active listening by giving your full attention to others and responding thoughtfully to their concerns and stories. Show appreciation regularly by expressing gratitude and performing random acts of kindness to strengthen your connections and make others feel valued.


To find Meaning in your life, reflect on your core values and life goals through regular journaling. Write a personal purpose statement that outlines your aspirations and what you want to contribute to the world. Engage in volunteer work or community service that aligns with your values. Find local organizations or groups to volunteer with regularly and participate in community events and initiatives that resonate with you, thereby contributing to a cause larger than yourself.


Accomplishment can be achieved by setting SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound) goals. Break these goals down into smaller, manageable tasks and create daily to-do lists with actionable steps that move you closer to your larger objectives. Reflect on your achievements at the end of each week, noting your progress and recognizing the efforts you’ve made. Celebrate your successes, no matter how small, by treating yourself to something enjoyable, such as a special meal, a day out, or a new book.


By consciously applying these strategies to cultivate Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment, you can enhance each aspect of the PERMA model and work towards a life that is not only happy but deeply meaningful. Each element reinforces the others, creating a holistic approach to well-being that helps you navigate life’s challenges with resilience and purpose.


The Permalicious Journey: A Lifetime of Fulfilment


In essence, embracing the PERMA model isn’t just about fleeting moments of happiness; it’s about embarking on a lifelong journey towards fulfilment and well-being. By consciously incorporating elements of positive emotion, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment into our lives, we can cultivate a sense of perma-lusciousness that permeates every aspect of our existence.



So, I pose the question once more: Are you Permalicious? Embrace the PERMA model, and may your journey be filled with boundless joy, profound connections, and the enduring glow of a life well-lived.



Credits - Yagya Kakani (Intern, UpLife)

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