The PERMA Formula

Most people are omnivores who love to behave positive, negative and in between. Something terribly sympathetic and terribly sad is that most people ask over time and again, “what can I do that other people will want to do?” And not, “what can I do that can fill me with Joy?” Seligman. Martin Seligman’s book “Flourish,” offers insights for people to begin looking at their lives from the angles of what Seligman terms as PERMA formula. The PERMA formula is an acronym that makes up five fundamental pillars of wellbeing and happiness. P represents Positive emotion, E-engagement, R-relationship, M-meaning and A-Achievement.

Positive Emotions: Positive emotion is one of the several components that constitute happiness and wellbeing and a distinct layer of pleasure. It is important to differentiate between enjoyment and pleasure before we devolve into details. Enjoyment arises from intellectual creativity and simulation whereas pleasure comes from the satisfaction of bodily needs such as hunger. Parents enjoy when they see their children screaming with joy as they skip up and down in the mud. One more thing is that positive emotions are essential for children because they broaden the imagination. When children are engage in a task they enjoy most, they are more likely to be persistent when different challenges arose, and suddenly find more creative opportunities and solutions. Positive emotion can help offset negative feelings. Usually, children tend to do more tasks that bring enjoyment, and the impact lasts longer as compared to those that produce fleeting pleasure.

Engagement: Nearly everybody at one point in time has found her/himself so absorbed in a certain activity that they entirely lose the sense of time. Children also get so engaged in play that it becomes tough for their parents to get their attention. This condition of total engagement is natural especially when individuals are doing activities they are good at or love. Children need to be given opportunities to participate in activities that empower them with engagement skills. As it has been said that actions speak louder than words, parents should provide examples to children by engaging in enjoyable but challenging tasks.

Relationships: Psychological health and happiness are inextricably related to meaningful, intimate and close relationships. Encouraging it with parents, family and friends as well as strangers promote positive feelings and support. Support children to form associations and show the willingness of being a trusted and reliable friend. Generally, children are at ease with sharing aspects about their personal lives with honest peers rather than adults.

Meaning: Other than the pursuit of material wealth and pleasure, real happiness originates from making and having a meaning in life. Loving somebody and being loved in return offers a meaningful experience in one's life.  Such experiences motivate people to live and care for someone apart from the self. Living a meaningful life also acts as an obstacle against hopelessness. The reasons why most spiritual individuals feel meaningful in life is that they worship and believe in something superior than them.

Achievement: All people have certain goals in their lives, even if they are small, for instance, changing a wardrobe once in a year. Making efforts to attain these targets are significant to individuals’ wellbeing and happiness. Achievements generate self-esteem and give a sense of success as well as enhance self-belief.  Parents who set goals and attempt to achieve them such as holding prayers daily, tend to inspire children to develop equivalent attitudes.

Most important component: Engagement is the most important component because it is central to other components of the PERMA formula. Being engaged in what one loves can bring the person positive emotions such as inspiration, satisfaction and pleasure. Also, it is thorough engagement in common activities that people tend to develop relationships with others. Engagement also leads to better lives since people get to appreciate the fact that there is something greater than themselves, thus giving a meaning to their lives. Finally, engagement enables people to do great fetes, and earn accomplishments or achievements. Therefore engagement is an important biding element that brings the other four elements together.

Conclusion: From the five building blocks of well-being and happiness, engagement appears to be the most important component of a flourishing life. Many people select their hobbies because they let them get into the flow much easily. Hobbies allow people to be present while doing certain activities without much thinking about the future, the past or being worried about the time. One reason to enjoy doing certain activities is because they engage people very quickly and that time can pass like a second.                             


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