Our sense of wellbeing will fluctuate over our lifetimes. There are times when we get the sense that our experiences are providing us with a sense of purpose and wellness and we feel good about being alive. Then there are the tougher, darker times we all inevitably will experience. A quick and easy way to check in on our own sense of wellbeing and those of others is a neat little acronym PERMA. This acronym was developed by Psychologist Martin Seligman and represents the five core pillars of wellbeing.
This refers to the amount of positive emotion you experience either daily, weekly monthly or however you wish to measure it. How often do you experience positive emotions that drive you toward a desired goal in your life?
Engagement refers to how engaged you are in the activities you perform in your daily life? Do activities create a sense of foreboding and doom or do they create a sense of excitement and curiosity. The activities we find engaging tend to generate positive emotions in us.
What is the quality of your most important relationships? Do you share the same interests and goals? Do you work well as a team? Or do you struggle to connect? Is there bickering and resentment building? Is communication hard and/or muddled? The quality of our relationships can have a bearing on our overall well-being.
We all need to believe that our lives and what we do with them have meaning. Of course meaning and what is meaningful is a subjective experience. Is what you’re doing creating and generating a sense of meaning in your life?
Finally, we all need to have a sense that we are achieving and moving forward in pursuit of the goals we set for ourselves. Am I making progress on a valued and important goal?
Ask yourself a scaling question. From 1-5 how am I doing on each of these domains? If you are low on one or more of these, the chances are you’re not at your best. Once you have determined which of these areas need attention, you are empowered to set about increasing your well-being in a specific area or across all five areas.
If your positive affect is low, make a list of all the things that make you feel good about yourself and manifest those things in your life more often. For example, if going to the park with your dog and walking outside brings you the good vibes, than do more of that to raise yours core. If your relationships are struggling, take the time to reflect on what is happening and ask yourself; what can I do to improve this relationship? Maybe you can invite a friend out for coffee or make a meal for someone.
If you are struggling and are unable to make necessary changes, it might be time to seek out professional help and support. A qualified and experienced counsellor can support you to identify areas of low functioning, help you determine your own personal values, support positive change and help you set specific goals for yourself (and a lot more).