PERMA Model – Pillars of Well-Being

PERMA Model – Pillars of Well-Being

PERMA Model – Pillars of Well-Being

In this unprecedented situation and crisis days, being positive and peaceful is inevitable. Various stressors like health concerns, economic insecurity, unemployment, and social or familial conflicts are leading to decreased well-being and happiness among individuals. Mental health is one of the important aspects being explored nowadays and people are finding various strategies to enhance emotional well-being. This is where the characteristics of positive psychology become effective. The following article briefly examines the significant features of well-being described in the PERMA model of well-being.

The PERMA model of well-being was conceptualized by Martin Seligman in 2011. The model comprises of Positive Emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment. Each of these attributes is equally important in the overall experience of happiness and well-being.

Emotions play a vital role in our psychological health. Normally, we experience a range of emotions in our daily life, both positive and negative.  And experiencing negative emotions is not a bad thing. However, prolonged exposure to negative emotions might decrease our well-being and lead to distorted thoughts by discounting positive emotions. Thus being positive and focusing more on positive emotions like contentment, joy, hope, pride, and love will definitely make us more happy and optimistic, and resilient in tough situations. There are diverse strategies you can adopt to develop positive emotions. Following your passions and doing what you love are the best ways to stay positive. Practicing techniques like yoga, meditation, and mindfulness can also improve your positivity and make you feel relaxed and agile in challenging times.

Engagement is the process of being fully absorbed in whatever you are doing. Love what you do and the work will be no more challenging or boring. Engagement is about being more conscious about your deeds and be enthralled in every moment of joy. Engagement enables us to be focused on the present and thus decrease the severity of anticipated worries. Identify your strengths and explore your maximum potential. Enjoy each moment and appreciate the beauty of your surroundings. Be grateful for what you have rather than worrying about what you don’t have. Being active and engaged in the present will definitely make you more positive and optimistic.

The environment in which we live and the people we are surrounded by deeply influence our well-being and happiness in life. Affiliation, love, and belongingness are some of the basic needs of any individual. Having healthy relationships and social support helps people to overcome challenges and to combat life stressors more effectively than those who are lonely and isolated. Thus it is always necessary to build strong and supportive relationships. Surrounded by positive and happy people also facilitates us to be happy and to be like them. Connect with more people, share your worries with them, and listen to their worries as well, be empathetic, and empower each other. Feeling loved and valued by others will definitely increase your esteem and self-worth.


One of the significant outcomes of depression is the feeling of hopelessness and finding no meaning in life. Thus it is important to have a purpose and meaning in one’s life. When we value ourselves and believe that we are worthy individuals, we feel more connected to the world and find a social identity to relate with others. Connecting more with your true and authentic self can boost your self-worth. Religiosity and spirituality could also have a profound impact on the sense of meaningfulness.

To feel worthy of oneself, it is necessary to accomplish something valuable in life. But more important than the tangible benefits are the subjective emotions and intrinsic motivation associated with it. Do our achievements make us happy? Are they valuable enough to instill a sense of meaningfulness? Do our achievements make us feel that we have contributed something to society? All these influence our sense of accomplishment strongly and in turn determine our well-being. To increase the sense of accomplishment, be passionate, ambitious, and have both short and long-term goals to achieve.

Though the PERMA model can be used to explain well-being effectively, research evidence is still not significant enough to validate the implications of the model. Thus the model provides scope for further empirical research in the field of positive psychology. And till then, the PERMA model can be used as a facilitating tool to improve well-being and in leading a happy and prosperous life.

About the Author

Parvathy Viswanath
PhD Scholar (Psychology).

I'm Parvathy Viswanath, PhD scholar in Psychology from Christ (Deemed to be University), Bangalore, Karnataka, India. I hail from Thrissur, Kerala.

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