“Is there someone in your life whom you would feel comfortable phoning at four in the morning to tell your troubles to? If your answer is yes, you will likely live longer than someone whose answer is no.”
~ Martin Seligman
Well-being is a construct, much like weather. Well-being is comprised of 5 different elements, coming together as well-being theory, the centerpiece of Positive Psychology.Advertising
Well-being is a combination of thinking and feeling good, in addition to having meaning, good relationships, and accomplishment in your life. Having high levels of well-being and performing at your best are closely correlated.
The acronym PERMA, coined by best-selling author and renowned well-being researcher Martin Seligman, PhD., consists of 5 measurable elements of well-being:
1. Positive Emotion
(Including happiness and life satisfaction): Feeling good: pleasure, gratitude, love, joy, comfort, warmth, ecstasy, curiosity, inspiration, and rapture. Positive emotion involves much more than a smile. Positive emotion helps us to perform better at work and study. Positive emotion engages our imagination and helps us to persevere in the face of challenges. Positive emotion is experienced in the present and helps us to undo negative emotion.Advertising
A state of flow: Being completely in the zone; when time stops for you; when you lose self-consciousness. Anyone who’s ever tried to stop their child from playing video games knows what engagement looks like. Engagement comes naturally when you’re doing activities love or are good at. You feel nothing at all while completely engaged. You can only look back retrospectively and remember how much fun you had.
Unlike positive emotion, there are no shortcuts to engagement. You must use your signature strengths and talents to meet your highest challenges. Identifying your signature strengths is huge. I recommend a visit to AuthenticHappiness.org. There you can identify your signature strengths, including how to use them more in your day-to-day life.
3. Positive Relationships
As social beings, positive relationships are essential to well-being. Those with positive relationships in their lives are noticeably happier than those without. Feelings of support, familiarity, and security that accompany positive relationships are all correlated with increased levels of well-being. Even relationships built on social media can increase well-being.Advertising
Positive relationships are especially necessary for children. Children showing a willingness to befriend others tend to be more comfortable sharing their feelings. Social connectedness is essential in adolescence as children tend to look to their peers for approval.
Belonging to and serving something bigger than the self. Politics, religion, and philanthropy are a few examples. Science has demonstrated that wealth and material possessions don’t correlate with much more than a temporary spike in well-being. Meaning increases well-being because it gives you a sense of purpose in life. Love is great example of meaning. When you’re in love, you’re inspired to live for, and take care of, someone other than yourself. You’re also less likely to be depressed with a strong sense of meaning because it promotes socializing.
Having goals, no matter the size, and making efforts to accomplish them is essential to your well-being. Merely trying to accomplish your goals increases life satisfaction.Advertising
Children model parents who have a drive to accomplish. Acknowledging your child’s small victories increases their self-belief. The more your child believes in themselves, the harder they try. Such strong self-belief builds resiliency and self-esteem.
What about happiness?
The 3 elements of happiness are the elements of positive emotion, engagement, and meaning. These 3 elements are measured subjectively by self-report.
Hopefully PERMA can help us to see happiness and well-being in a new light. As we strive to increase well-being and flourishing, PERMA can help us to realize what constitutes a life worth living, both for ourselves and our children.
Featured photo credit: Ludovica Verna via flickr.com
Last Updated on July 3, 2020
30 Small Habits To Lead A More Peaceful Life
In today’s world, true peace must come from within us and our own actions. Here are 30 small things you can do on a regular basis to increase your overall sense of harmony, peace, and well-being:
1. Don’t go to every fight you’re invited to
Particularly when you’re around those who thrive on chaos, be willing to decline the invitation to join in on the drama.
2. Focus on your breath
Throughout the day, stop to take a few deep breaths. Keep stress at bay with techniques such as “square breathing.” Breathe in for four counts, hold for four counts, then out for four counts, and hold again for four counts. Repeat this cycle four times.
3. Get organized and purge old items
A cluttered space often creates a cluttered spirit. Take the time to get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year and invest in organizational systems that help you sustain a level of neatness.
4. Stop yourself from being judgmental
Whenever you are tempted to have an opinion about someone else’s life, check your intentions. Judging others creates and promotes negative energy.
5. Say ‘thank you’ early and often
Start and end each day with an attitude of gratitude. Look for opportunities in your daily routine and interactions to express appreciation.
6. Smile more
Even if you have to “fake it until you make it,” there are many scientific benefits of smiling and laughing. Also, pay attention to your facial expression when you are doing neutral activities such as driving and walking. Turn that frown upside down!
7. Don’t worry about the future
As difficult as this sounds, there is a direct connection between staying in the present and living a more peaceful life. You cannot control the future. As the old proverb goes, “Worry is like a rocking chair. It gives you something to do, but it won’t get you anywhere.” Practice gently bringing your thoughts back to the present.
8. Eat real food
The closer the food is to the state from which it came from the earth, the better you will feel in eating it. Choose foods that grew from a plant over food that was made in a plant.
9. Choose being happy over being right
Too often, we sacrifice inner peace in order to make a point. It’s rarely worth it.
10. Keep technology out of the bedroom
Many studies, such as one conducted by Brigham and Women’s Hospital, have connected blue light of electronic devices before bed to adverse sleep and overall health. To make matters worse, many people report that they cannot resist checking email and social media when their cell phone is in reach of their bed, regardless of the time.
11. Make use of filtering features on social media
You may not want to “unfriend” someone completely, however you can choose whether you want to follow their posts and/or the sources of information that they share.
12. Get comfortable with silence
When you picture someone who is the ultimate state of peace, typically they aren’t talking.
13. Listen to understand, not to respond
So often in conversations, we use our ears to give us cues about when it is our turn to say what we want to say. Practice active listening, ask questions, process, then speak.
14. Put your troubles in a bubble
Whenever you start to feel anxious, visualize the situation being wrapped in a bubble and then picture that sphere floating away.
15. Speak more slowly
Often a lack of peace manifests itself in fast or clipped speech. Take a breath, slow down, and let your thoughtful consideration drive your words.
16. Don’t procrastinate
Nothing adds stress to our lives like waiting until the last minute.
17. Buy a coloring book
Mandala coloring books for adults are becoming more popular because of their connection to creating inner peace.
18. Prioritize yourself
You are the only person who you are guaranteed to live with 24 hours a day for the rest of your life.
19. Forgive others
Holding a grudge is hurting you exponentially more than anyone else. Let it go.
20. Check your expectations
Presumption often leads to drama. Remember the old saying, “Expectations are premeditated resentments.”
21. Engage in active play
Let your inner child come out and have some fun. Jump, dance, play, and pretend!
22. Stop criticizing yourself
The world is a hard enough place with more than enough critics. Your life is not served well by being one of them.
23. Focus your energy and attention on what you want
Thoughts, words, and actions all create energy. Energy attracts like energy. Put out what you want to get back.
24. Assign yourself “complaint free” days.
Make a conscious decision not to complain about anything for a whole day. It might be harder than you think and the awareness will stick with you.
25. Surround yourself with people you truly enjoy being in the company of
Personalities tend to be contagious, and not everyone’s is worth catching. Be judicious in your choices.
26. Manage your money
Financial concerns rank top on the list of what causes people stress. Take the time each month to do a budget, calculate what you actually spend and sanity check that against the money you have coming in.
27. Stop trying to control everything
Not only is your inner control freak sabotaging your sense of peace, it is also likely getting in the way of external relationships as well.
28. Practice affirmations
Repeat positive phrases that depict the life and qualities you want to attract. It may not come naturally to you, but it works.
29. Get up before sunrise
Personally witnessing the dawn brings a unique sense of awe and appreciation for life.
30. Be yourself
Nothing creates more inner discord than trying to be something other than who we really are. Authenticity breeds happiness.
Featured photo credit: man watching sunrise via stokpic.com