What does it mean for you to flourish? Are you flourishing or are you living half a life because of stress, pressure and unhelpful responses to setbacks, politics and conflicts at work and in life?
One of the health funds is running a series of TV commercials that show different people in two different scenes. In the first scene, the person looks tired, pale, stressed and lacking in energy. The second scene shows the person with good colour in their cheeks, energetic, happy and more serene. The question is posed ‘what if you met a healthier version of you’? The photo on the right is one of the sobering images from the Bupa commercial. Really makes you think doesnt it? When you meet with people you haven’t seen for awhile, are they seeing your healthy self or your less healthy self? What do you see when you look in the mirror?
The fields of positive psychology and neuroscience are packed with research findings that tell us what we need to do to respond to life, setbacks and stresses in a way that adds to our wellbeing rather than undermine it- including celebrating and noting the good things. Dr Martin Seligman is the founder of positive psychology, which was established to look at what helps people stay and keep healthy instead of just looking at interventions for dysfunction. I have spent the past four years researching this field and the field of neuroscience to develop a resilience program. I’ll write more on this in the future and drill down deeper into some of these points, but I thought I’d share Seligman’s most recent model for flourishing and wellbeing. There is much research in this field that tells us the positive psychology strategies improve our physical wellbeing as well as our psychological wellbeing-and help us meet (and become) our healthier self.
Seligman’s new model for wellbeing is called PERMA, which is an acronym for
- Positive emotion – satisfaction with life, fully appreciating the good things and feeling empowered to manage or address the negative things
- Engagement- flow, finding activities that fully absorb you in a task to the point that time just flies by
- Positive relationships-meaningful social connection
- Meaning-belonging to and serving something bigger than yourself
- Accomplishment-the sense that you have mastered something
Do any of these resonate with you? There is strong evidence to suggest that people actually grow from trauma and negative events if they apply certain strategies and thinking. Neuroscience tells us we can train our brain to look for positive patterns that will improve our wellbeing-and we can minimise the toxic chemicals negative thoughts squirt into our body. Management literature tells us that two key motivators for workers is meaning/purpose and a sense of mastery.
There is a wealth of information and evidence based strategies to help us move more toward our healthier selves and confidently say we are flourishing.