Are you flourishing?

What is flourishing?

Simply put, flourishing is feeling good and functioning well.

When someone is flourishing they experience positive emotions, positive interest and engagement with the world around them, and meaning and purpose in their lives most of the time.

Evidence suggests that people who are flourishing are less at risk of physical and mental health problems and have better social relationships. 

Although we don’t have data on flourishing in New Zealand the European and

United States experience would suggest that around 80% of New Zealand’s population may be experiencing sub optimal mental health. 

What helps us to flourish?

According to Dr Martin Seligman, commonly known as the founder of Positive Psychology, there are five elements that can help people reach a life of fulfilment, happiness, and meaning.

The acronym for this is PERMA

  • P – Positive Emotion: The ability to be optimistic and view the past, present, and future in a positive perspective. 
  • E – Engagement: It is important in our lives to be able to find activities that takes our full engagement.  We all need something in our lives that entirely absorbs us into the present moment, creating a ‘flow’ of blissful immersion into the task or activity
  • R – Relationships: Building positive relationships with your parents, siblings, peers, and friends are important to spreading love and joy. Having strong relationships gives you support in difficult times.
  • M – Meaning: Having a purpose and meaning to why each of us are on this earth is important to living a life of happiness and fulfillment. 
  • A – Accomplishments: Having goals and ambition in life can help us to achieve things that can gives us a sense of accomplishment.

To find out more on the PERMA model visit the Positive Psychology Programme website or watch this video from Martin Seligman.

How to apply the PERMA model

According to the Positive Psychology Programme being aware of the PERMA model is the first step to applying this theory into you life. They recommend that you keep referring back to the five elements of the model to help you apply it to each aspect of your life.

  • Find the things that make you happy and can make you fully engaged.
  • Within these activities, you could even put goals in place to achieving more and challenging yourself in the activities you enjoy.
  • Focus on your relationships with your family and friends by finding ways to connect and enjoy each others company. 
  • Find the meaning to your life and what gives you a sense of purpose, it’s different for everyone.