Professor Martin Seligman spent many years creating his PERMA model of wellbeing, now known as the Positive Psychology movement.

These are the five elements Seligman discovered:

  • Positive emotions – focusing on the positive
  • Engagement – being completely absorbed in activities
  • Relationships – connecting to others
  • Meaning – purposeful lives
  • Achievement – a sense of accomplishment

Positive emotions

A positive view in life can help us in both relationships and work and inspire us to be more creative and take more chances. In everyone’s life there are highs and lows. Research shows that focusing on the negative decreases well-being and lowers productivity, whilst focusing on the positive helps us work together more productively. Positive emotions like hope, gratitude and love enable us to enjoy the here and now and build resilience.

In addition to increasing our personal output, positive emotions are contagious, so they will affect the whole team and others around us. Positive emotions have also been shown to have a positive impact on our health and wellbeing.

Engagement

Being fully engaged when working with colleagues on projects, involving ourselves in our hobbies or spending time with friends, enables us to think less about ourselves and concentrate and focus on the tasks at hand. The more we experience this type of engagement, the more likely we are to feel productive and useful.

Without engagement, we feel bored and uninvolved. When we are fully immersed in an activity, time passes more quickly, our focus sharpens, and our problem solving ability is increased along with our sense of enjoyment.

Relationships

Humans are social beings and need connection through friendships and social activities. In the workplace having strong relationships builds a better work environment, stronger teams and better results. When we have strong relationships with others we are happier, more productive and work together more effectively.

Having strong relationships in the workplace not only increases collaboration, but also increases our creative output and allows us to share not only the problems we are working on, but also the victories and successes in our day.

Meaning

We need to find meaning in our personal, family and working lives. This gives us a purpose and a reason to get up every day. At work understanding how what we do makes an impact and why we pursue it, makes us feel worthwhile and increases our sense of importance, which in turn will help us enjoy the daily tasks more and be more productive.

It is important that the work we do is consistent with our personal values, so that we feel we are contributing to the “greater good” as we define it. In order to do this, it is important that we explore our personal values and seek out work and workplaces that share them.

Achievement

Working towards goals and accomplishing them gives us a sense of satisfaction, happiness and well-being. When we feel we’ve achieved something we feel like sharing our skills and are motivated to work harder and achieve more in the future.

It is important that we set achievable goals to give us this sense of accomplishment, but we also need to set “stretch” goals to help us grow and feel an even greater sense of accomplishment.

The very act of setting and working towards a goal gives us a future focus and a sense of hope and optimism. Contrary to popular belief, we should be proud of our accomplishments and celebrate them.

PERMA in the training room

In the training room, Fundamental Training and Development endeavours to apply Positive Psychology by ensuring our delivery is positive and upbeat (Positive Emotions) as well as interactive, with real examples and case studies (Engagement).

Our facilitators have highly developed interpersonal skills, building rapport with the participants and ensuring a safe environment to maximise participation (Relationships).

All our training is practical and based on examples generated by the participants (Meaning). Participation is encouraged and supported as attendees are challenged to step outside their comfort zones, which instils in them a sense of achievement.

For us at Fundamental Training and Development, the concepts of PERMA are second nature, and we believe they result in better outcomes not only in the training room, but also back in the workplace.

Article by Adam Le Good, Director of Fundamental Training and Development

For further information on Positive Psychology Training please go to our Contact page.