Dr Sue Ferguson

As well-known psychologist Martin Seligman says, “I’m trying to broaden the scope of positive psychology well beyond the smiley face. Happiness is just one-fifth of what human beings choose to do.” These building blocks of wellbeing are described by the acronym ‘PERMA’, and they help us flourish. These are an important aspect of wellbeing, but they also contribute to our resources and resilience and thus our future wellbeing.

P is for Positive emotions (happiness, optimism, gratitude, amusement, awe and joy). So, try to think positively about your situation, or list 3 good things that have happened today.

E is for Engagement or being immersed in a challenging activity. Try doing an activity just for enjoyment, such as playing a musical instrument, doing art, or reading.

R is Relationships that are meaningful and fulfilling, and provide support when we need it, but also opportunities to give back. Prioritise spending time with the people who are important to you, and/or get back in touch with an old friend.

M is for Meaning in life and includes having purpose, achieving something, or by belonging to something bigger than you. You can increase activities that involve helping family and friends; or volunteering to give your life more meaning.

A is for Accomplishment, when we achieve something small or large this gives our self-esteem and broader wellbeing a boost. So set an achievable goal (even a small one such as trying a new recipe), work towards it, and succeeding will give you a sense of accomplishment.

South Australian researchers have built on the PERMA model, adding further contributing factors to wellbeing. You can read their useful material via – https://www.wellbeingandresilience.com/sites/swrc5/media/pdf/permaandcentreoverview.pdf