The PERMA Model

The PERMA Model

You know we love a good acronym around here, don’t we? Well buckle up, because we’ve got another one for you to add to your toolbox. Introducing: The PERMA Model of Psychological Well-Being. (Yup, another one!)


The PERMA Model is a key component of Positive Psychology, and outlines founder Martin Seligmen’s five factors of psychological well-being. This acronym was created to really dig into what it is that leads to happiness and fulfillment—the better we know and understand something, the more likely we are to be able to truly implement it in our lives.


So what’s PERMA?


P - Positive Emotions. Just as no one factor can stand alone and yield a happy and well balanced human, we cannot simply rely on having positive emotions. But they are a critical component of overall well-being. Feeling contentment and enjoyment from moment to moment is key to Seligmen’s theory.


E - Engagement. Being actively engaged in our lives, in the work and play we do, in our relationships. Seligmen’s definition of this is very similar to a theory we’ll visit later, the flow theory.


R - Relationships. With others, with ourselves, with our community. When we have meaningful, fulfilling relationships with other people, that provides a sense of connection and deepens our human experience.


M - Meaning. Extending this thought from our relationship to our purpose in life, having meaning in our life is critical for feeling fulfilled and content. Meaning can be multifaceted; meaning through our work, connection to something greater through religion or spirituality, purpose found in creation, and so on.


A - Accomplishment. Think of forward motion, here. Accomplishment doesn’t necessarily need to look like 1st place in the race or the Nobel Peace Prize. Accomplishment can simply mean ending your day knowing that you did good, you reached small goals, and you’re one step closer to your highest self.