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“PERMA” a Simple Guide to Finding Your Happiness

“PERMA” a Simple Guide to Finding Your Happiness

Being happy and living life to the fullest is what every human being is striving for. Now more than ever, people seem to put pursuit of happiness as their top priority. However, although the term happiness seems clear enough, the implication seems quite vague for most people. Is it just simple as – Be happy? And, more importantly, are we capable of being happy 24/7? Finally, are we chasing it too hard, so much so that it too often ends with us feeling disappointed and disillusioned instead of happy?

Clearly defining what makes us happy can be quite challenging for most of us. More so, there is not one universal factor that brings happiness for every human being. Whereas succeeding in their career and earning big salary can bring happiness to a banker, for example, a writer would feel same amount of happiness while reading a great book. Although happiness seems undefinable and elusive, and with no definite trigger, there are still certain techniques and methods we can use in order to improve the overall quality of our lives and outlook on life, which would, eventually lead to us feeling much happier and fulfilled.

The PERMA model of happiness

According to Martin Seligman, the “father of positive psychology”, there is a formula for happiness. By presenting five elements that make up PERMA and strongly influence one’s sense of personal happiness and fulfillment – Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement, Seligman offers guidelines towards happier life. Understanding these elements and taking action towards improving some of them, is what Seligman advises for finding happiness.

    PERMA consists of 5 core elements that contribute to our happiness

    The 5 PERMA elements for achieving happiness

    1. Positive emotion

      Positive attitude is key to achieving happiness. However, having positive attitude doesn’t actually mean smiling all the time, but, quite contrary, it should never mean suppressing your emotions of any sort. Cultivating positive emotions requires accepting and understanding negative thoughts and emotions, learning about deep roots and causes of them, and ultimately, becoming better at finding positive sides to each scenario and circumstance.

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      In order to nurture positive emotions, we could take the 20/80 approach that is most often linked to business success and productivity. Yet, if we look at the approach from the standpoint of achieving happiness, we could consider the 20% as the time we spend doing small mindful exercises, such as meditation, reading, writing lists of positive aspects, gratefulness, etc. Those 20% of our time each day will then determine our feelings for the next 80% of our day no matter what circumstances we may encounter. Contrary to the popular opinion that it takes a great change in order for us to feel happy, it is actually determined by everyday small acts of self-love, mindfulness and appreciation.


      2. Engagement

        Engaging in an activity that is of importance to us makes us feel present in the now, and thus creates a feeling of bliss, personal importance, purpose and happiness.

        Remember how your days spent on a vacation seem to be a lot shorter compared to your regular work days, or how a day without a loved one seems like a year? The only difference in each example is our sense of engagement and enjoyment.

        In order to increase and maintain happiness levels in our lives, we need to allow ourselves to explore and discover activities that help us feel engaged with all of our senses. Finding our drive and passion also requires prioritizing ourselves and saying no to anything that doesn’t make us feel completely immersed, inspired and driven.

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        3. Relationships

          As social beings, our sense of personal fulfillment and happiness is dependent upon social relationship and connection with others on intellectual, spiritual, physical and emotional level. Creating and nurturing relationships is of utmost importance for general wellbeing and sense of belonging. Isolation and alienation pose some of the greatest risks for developing fear, anxiety and unhappiness.

          In order to fully apply this element of the PERMA model of happiness, we need to reflect on our current relationships and try to improve their quality. Nurturing close bonds with our friends, family members, relatives and lovers ultimately creates a strong and healthy base for us as it gives us the support and care we need throughout our life.

          Creating strong positive relationships and improving existing ones, is a process that requires taking the time to dedicate to people who are important to us. Spending quality time together, supporting each other and being invested in the lives of others will create a positive and healthy connection that increases our sense of purpose, belonging and happiness.

          Don’t be afraid to ask reflective question and deeply analyze your current relationships. This will give you the opportunity to become a better friend, sibling, parent or partner and to contribute to your own and the happiness of others around you.

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          4. Meaning

            Think of the great people throughout history and why we admire them so much. In a great majority of cases it is because of their purposeful and meaningful lives that have contributed greatly to humankind. Meaning and purpose in life contribute greatly to our sense of fulfillment and happiness since we all have that urge to dedicate our lives to something much bigger than ourselves, something that surpasses mere pursuit of materialistic wealth and small pleasures.

            If we think of our motivation and what triggers it, we would soon realize that we are much more motivated once we have a clear, greater goal ahead of us, as opposed to doing actions without a greater purpose.

            Finding purpose requires ignoring small, short-term pleasures and focus on the bigger picture instead. List out your dreams and goals in life, ask yourself what you want to be remembered by, what you want your legacy to be. And don’t be afraid if your dreams seem too big or unattainable at the moment. Focus on breaking it down into simple attainable steps. Count your strengths and work on your weaknesses step by step.


            5. Accomplishments and Achievements

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              The sense of achievement once we accomplish our goals highly contributes to the general feeling of happiness and fulfillment. Our sense of achievement is directly related to the previous element of meaning and setting goals. Achieving any size goals gives us a confirmation of our strength, abilities and perseverance.

              This is why it is important to break big goals into small, realistic ones, which can be achieved without losing drive and missing our targets. Perseverance contributes to our goal achieving and happiness in general. Once we decide not to give up, we have greater chances of accomplishing something. Similarly, once we stick to a goal and dedicate all of our strength, creativity and time to accomplish it, our sense of happiness will increase as a result of our dedication to a greater cause.


              See how Martin Seligman explains the PERMA model

              In order to get a better understanding, it’s best to listen to how to founder explain the model and how we can all start with this simple model to find our happiness!

              Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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              Last Updated on December 10, 2019

              5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

              5 Smart Reasons to Start Journal Writing Today

              Here’s the truth: your effectiveness at life is not what it could be. You’re missing out.

              Each day passes by and you have nothing to prove that it even happened. Did you achieve something? Go on a date? Have an emotional breakthrough? Who knows?

              But what you do know is that you don’t want to make the same mistakes that you’ve made in the past.

              Our lives are full of hidden gems of knowledge and insight, and the most recent events in our lives contain the most useful gems of all. Do you know why? It’s simple, those hidden lessons are the most up to date, meaning they have the largest impact on what we’re doing right now.

              But the question is, how do you get those lessons? There’s a simple way to do it, and it doesn’t involve time machines:

              Journal writing.

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              Improved mental clarity, the ability to see our lives in the big picture, as well as serving as a piece of evidence cataloguing every success we’ve ever had; we are provided all of the above and more by doing some journal writing.

              Journal writing is a useful and flexible tool to help shed light on achieving your goals.

              Here’s 5 smart reasons why you should do journal writing:

              1. Journals Help You Have a Better Connection with Your Values, Emotions, and Goals

              By journaling about what you believe in, why you believe it, how you feel, and what your goals are, you understand your relationships with these things better. This is because you must sort through the mental clutter and provide details on why you do what you do and feel what you feel.

              Consider this:

              Perhaps you’ve spent the last year or so working at a job you don’t like. It would be easy to just suck it up and keep working with your head down, going on as if it’s supposed to be normal to not like your job. Nobody else is complaining, so why should you, right?

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              But a little journal writing will set things straight for you. You don’t like your job. You feel like it’s robbing you of happiness and satisfaction, and you don’t see yourself better there in the future.

              The other workers? Maybe they don’t know, maybe they don’t care. But you do, you know and care enough to do something about it. And you’re capable of fixing this problem because your journal writing allows you to finally be honest with yourself about it.

              2. Journals Improve Mental Clarity and Help Improve Your Focus

              If there’s one thing journal writing is good for, it’s clearing the mental clutter.

              How does it work? Simply, whenever you have a problem and write about it in a journal, you transfer the problem from your head to the paper. This empties the mind, allowing allocation of precious resources to problem-solving rather than problem-storing.

              Let’s say you’ve been juggling several tasks at work. You’ve got data entry, testing, e-mails, problems with the boss, and so on—enough to overwhelm you—but as you start journal writing, things become clearer and easier to understand: Data entry can actually wait till Thursday; Bill kindly offered earlier to do my testing; For e-mails, I can check them now; the boss is just upset because Becky called in sick, etc.

              You become better able to focus and reason your tasks out, and this is an indispensable and useful skill to have.

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              3. Journals Improve Insight and Understanding

              As a positive consequence of improving your mental clarity, you become more open to insights you may have missed before. As you write your notes out, you’re essentially having a dialogue with yourself. This draws out insights that you would have missed otherwise; it’s almost as if two people are working together to better understand each other. This kind of insight is only available to the person who has taken the time to connect with and understand themselves in the form of writing.

              Once you’ve gotten a few entries written down, new insights can be gleaned from reading over them. What themes do you see in your life? Do you keep switching goals halfway through? Are you constantly dating the same type of people who aren’t good for you? Have you slowly but surely pushed people out of your life for fear of being hurt?

              All of these questions can be answered by simply self-reflecting, but you can only discover the answers if you’ve captured them in writing. These questions are going to be tough to answer without a journal of your actions and experiences.

              4. Journals Track Your Overall Development

              Life happens, and it can happen fast. Sometimes we don’t take the time to stop and look around at what’s happening to us at each moment. We don’t get to see the step-by-step progress that we’re making in our own lives. So what happens? One day it’s the future, and you have no idea how you’ve gotten there.

              Journal writing allows you to see how you’ve changed over time, so you can see where you did things right, and you can see where you took a misstep and fell.

              The great thing about journals is that you’ll know what that misstep was, and you can make sure it doesn’t happen again—all because you made sure to log it, allowing yourself to learn from your mistakes.

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              5. Journals Facilitate Personal Growth

              The best thing about journal writing is that no matter what you end up writing about, it’s hard to not grow from it. You can’t just look at a past entry in which you acted shamefully and say “that was dumb, anyway!” No, we say “I will never make a dumb choice like that again!”

              It’s impossible not to grow when it comes to journal writing. That’s what makes journal writing such a powerful tool, whether it’s about achieving goals, becoming a better person, or just general personal-development. No matter what you use it for, you’ll eventually see yourself growing as a person.

              Kickstart Journaling

              How can journaling best be of use to you? To vent your emotions? To help achieve your goals? To help clear your mind? What do you think makes journaling such a useful life skill?

              Know the answer? Then it’s about time you reap the benefits of journal writing and start putting pen to paper.

              Here’s what you can do to start journaling:

              Featured photo credit: Jealous Weekends via unsplash.com

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