When we think of what is most important to us, happiness is often at the top of the list. However while happiness is something nice to aim for, it can be difficult to define what it is exactly. Martin Seligman has made it his life’s work to understand and promote optimism, happiness, positivity and most recently, wellbeing. From his work he has developed the PERMAH model. This model helps us to understand the components of happiness and how we can achieve it for ourselves.
- An essential part of wellbeing is experiencing happiness, joy, hope, love and gratitude
- It’s about looking back on the past with gladness, looking into the future with hope and enjoying the present
ACTION STEP: Spend more time appreciating what you have, rather than longing for what you might have or are missing out on
- Take a look on the train and you will notice everybody is engaged with their mobile phone, yet nobody is engaged with their present moment and the people sitting next to them.
- When we experience true engagement in our present moment and surroundings, a state of blissful absorption is experienced. It can leave you feeling ‘in the flow’.
ACTION STEP: Put your phone on silent and away from you at meal times. Use the time to engage with the people you are surrounded by in that moment.
- Everybody needs someone
- Our sense of wellbeing is enhanced and shared when we build strong relationships with the people around us
- The longest and most comprehensive study of adult development ever performed, with over 75 years of data found that close relationships were far more important than money or fame, and better predictor of long and happy lives than social class, IQ or genes
ACTION STEP: Focus on quality and not quantity when it comes to relationships. Be present and engaged with those people that are important to you, focus on strengthening and building strong relationships with them.
- We are at our best when we dedicate time to something greater than ourselves. Meaning comes in many forms including religious, community, family, politics, charity, professional or creative.
- Simple acts of kindness can also give us meaning. They also act as a domino effect boosting our own happiness and the happiness of others who see or receive the kindness.
ACTION STEP: If you’re unsure where to start, then start small. Open the door for someone, smile at someone or give somebody a compliment.
- Everyone needs to win sometimes. A true sense of achievement comes when one is able to look back at achievements and think ‘I did it and I did it as well as I could’.
ACTION STEP: Set yourself short term and long term goals, then work out the small steps you need to get there. Once you have achieved your goals take the time to reflect and be proud of your hard work.
ACTION STEP: Take control of your own health, it is too important to leave to somebody else. Make small steps that are sustainable and work for you. Start with focusing on getting a really good night’s sleep and go from there.
How we think and feel is just one of the areas of health I explore in my new book, A Life Less Stressed.