Updated: Aug 24, 2019
Do you spend your time wishing that things were different? A lot of us are unaware that our habits are making us unhappy and most of the time, we have no idea where to start in order to change them. Finding a qualified counselor is a great first step to get help. Your counselor will assist you in understanding how your past can be influencing your life and how to better remove yourself from those situations that are most unhealthy for you. Martin Seligman, who is a psychologist and self-help author, founded a new branch of science, termed Positive Psychology. Positive Psychology helps individuals learn how to ‘flourish’ in order to stay away from ‘languishing’ in everyday life. Languishing is the opposite of flourishing. It is when a person is not living up to their full potential of happiness due to not knowing or believing that they can achieve happiness. In contrast, flourishing is when you experience overall well-being mentally, socially, and physically. This is the goal of leading a happier, healthier life, and a counselor can help you achieve this goal.
Seligman identified 6 important elements to practice regularly in order to reach optimal well-being. The elements are positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, achievement, and vitality; which is also known as the PERMA-V model. Within this model, you can learn how to enhance your happiness through practicing concepts and techniques of each element. Below is a brief explanation of the concepts of the PERMA-V model.
The first component is positive emotion. Positive emotion is when you are experiencing happiness and life satisfaction on a daily basis. Typically, this can be done by staying in the present moment, practicing gratitude/savoring skills, or participating in activities that bring you joy. It is important for people to explore what brings positivity in their life in order to help maintain overall well-being. Positive emotions can help build resources such as resiliency, problem solving skills, healthy relationships with others, and optimal cardiovascular health.
Engaging in activities that bring immense satisfaction after completion is needed in order to bring more happiness in your life. Engagement is associated with the positive psychology term ‘flow’, which is the state of being absorbed in something do deeply, you lose track of time. This can be very unique to each person because we all have different interests, such as playing a sport, reading, writing, cooking, or being outdoors. Continue to explore your interests and throw yourself into them on a weekly basis.
If you are someone who is feeling lonely or is isolated from others, then you are most likely suffering from depression. Being involved in healthy relationships is one of the most important aspects of living a happy life. Having close bonds and positive connections with family, friends, coworkers, and other people in your community is critical for maintaining your sense of happiness. In order to find your tribe of people, search and keep your ears open for those who share similar interests or ideas in order to make those connections.
I believe that every person was put on this earth for some purpose, but unfortunately, not everyone is living up to their full potential. Meaning is typically discovered through an individuals career choice or through service work, such as volunteering at an animal shelter. You can also find meaning through your spirituality practice or your faith in a certain religion. Those who attend a religious service weekly have a greater chance of increasing their well-being, so get out there and start participating in what brings you purpose.
Waking up and setting goals for your day is necessary to reach a state of happiness. When you are able to accomplish your goals, you will feel proud of yourself and motivated to create new goals for the next day. It is important to start small at first and then build upon your completed goals to reach your long term dreams.
Making sure that you are taking care of your physical well-being is the final element of the model. You can do this by eating whole foods, exercising, getting 7-9 hours of sleep, etc. on a regular basis. Also, pay attention to what your body is telling you and nourish it with the proper meal, workout, or rest. Finding a qualified physician, personal trainer, or nutritionist can also be a great step for many people to educate yourself and keep you motivated to stay on the right track.
Following the PERMA-V model will help you take action towards to pathway to happiness. Take these concepts and start thinking of ways you can implement them in your own life. Stay tuned to get a more in depth understanding of each component and techniques you can use to assist you on the path to happiness.