What is human flourishing and what enables it? Dr. Seligman’s PERMA™ theory of well-being is an attempt to answer these fundamental questions. There are five building blocks that enable flourishing – Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment (hence PERMA™) – and there are techniques to increase each.
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. That is why you need to uncover your personal PERMA profile.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to uncover where your own well-being lies in each of these five domains.
Pleasure and Positive Emotions
- What do you do for fun?
- When do you feel when you are at your happiest
- What brings you pleasure and enjoyment?
- What helps lift your mood?
- When you are happy what are you doing?
- When you are happy what are you thinking?
- When you are happy what are you feeling?
- What everyday things do you enjoy doing?
Engagement, Mindfulness, and Flow
- What tasks of challenge or skill do you engage in?
- What do you do that demands a high level of concentration?
- When do you experience yourself engaged in deep, effortless involvement?
- In what sort of activities do you lose all sense of self?
- When do you find that time appears to stand still or vanish for you?
- What types of mindfulness, meditation, or focused awareness do you practice?
- What relationships enhance your sense of well-being?
- What is it about those relationships that benefit your well-being?
- How do your social relationships contribute to your happiness?
- In what ways do work relationships enhance your well-being?
- What aspects of family relationships enhance you?
- How do your intimate relationships help you to feel happier?
- What are the contributions that you make to relationships that have you feeling better?
Meaning and Purpose
- What gives you a sense of meaning and purpose in life?
- What are the values that guide you through life?
- If you have a purpose in life what would you say that is?
- Do you have a vision for the future? How would you describe that?
- What are you most looking forward to in the future?
- What causes are you currently engaged in or can see yourself engaged in in the future?
Accomplishment and Achievements
- What do you consider you are good at?
- When you are at your best, what are you doing?
- What do you enjoy doing most?
- What would you describe as your most significant accomplishment or achievement?
- Tell me about the best experience you have had.
- What are the most energizing things that you do?
- What gives you the greatest sense of feeling authentic, of feeling who you really are?
Asking these questions give you a fair idea of who you really are and what you really need to realise your happiness potential. Set them as goals for the short and the long term and then get to work.