PERMA a'la Seligman's Penn Lab

Here’s a great article on Martin E. P. Seligman’s work, specifically pointing out the skills needed to build resilience and immunity to depression. The PERMA Model: Your Scientific Theory of Happiness begs the question: “Most of us think we know what happiness is, but what are the actual elements that promote happiness within each of us?”

What I find fascinating about this theory is that it comes with proven & practical directions of how to grow a life of well-being ~~~ one small action at a time. I’m working on Gratitude with immediate family members who live in my town. We all share and intense love-of-learning which gives us a lucky leg up on the path. I love that each person can work on a different aspect of PERMA ~ any aspect that speaks to their own unique personality and desires.

PERMA™ THEORY OF WELL-BEING AND PERMA™ WORKSHOPS website instructs readers that “The skills that build flourishing are different from the skills that alleviate suffering. Removing the disabling conditions is not the same as building the enabling conditions that make life most worth living.”

Expanded further, Seligman’s lab reminds us that “Different people will derive well-being from each of these five building blocks to varying degrees. A good life for one person is not necessarily a good life for another. There are many different routes to a flourishing life. Positive Psychology is descriptive, not prescriptive. In other words, we are not telling people what choices to make or what to value, but research on the factors that enable flourishing can help people make more informed choices to live a more fulfilling life that is aligned with their values and interests.”

So, as with the particular skills a person wants to learn, skill building can be self-directed toward what “makes life most worth living” for each individual learner. This skill-building method is worth investigating if you are a clinician, coach, parent, teacher, business owner, or an individual who wants to live a flourishing life.

Check out a cool P.E.R.M.A (Seligman, 2011) graphic. This Hong Kong research and well-being site has taken positive psychology on as a cultural project, proving that Seligman’s assertion that these concepts work - no matter where the person lives.

Erica KitzmanComment