2.2 The PERMA model
Wellbeing is defined by the Oxford English Dictionary as ‘the state of being comfortable, healthy, or happy’. However, it is important to realise that wellbeing is a much broader concept than moment-to-moment happiness. While it does include happiness, it also includes other things, such as how satisfied people are with their life as a whole, their sense of purpose and how in control they feel.
A useful perspective on this comes from American psychologist, educator and author Martin Seligman. Seligman’s research (2011) indicated that five core elements are needed for people to achieve a healthy sense of wellbeing, fulfilment and satisfaction in life. He called this the PERMA model:
- Positive emotion
Activity 2 Identify examples for the PERMA model
- Spend a few minutes thinking of a workplace example for each of the elements of the PERMA model – e.g. what was the last positive emotion you felt at work, and why; what gives meaning to your work?
- Now read this short article (700 words) on Positive Psychology in the Workplace [Tip: hold Ctrl and click a link to open it in a new tab. (Hide tip)] (Finkbeiner, 2022) from workplace wellbeing provider Zevo.
How did the examples you thought of compare to the suggestions from Zevo? Note that the author of the article says ‘Employers, managers, and leaders all have a role to play in workplace happiness’. Section 3 will pick up on this.