Seligman’s PERMA+ Model Explained: A Theory of Wellbeing

Perma+ ModelThe pursuit of happiness is one that humans have been working toward since the beginning of time.

Yet the concept of “happiness” is often hard to accurately define.

Living the good life, flourishing, self-actualization, joy, and purpose are words that come to mind with happiness. Is it possible to experience any of these in the middle of a chaotic world and negative circumstances? Can we learn to grow or find skills that lead to this “good life?”

Positive psychology takes you through the countryside of pleasure and gratification, up into the high country of strength and virtue, and finally to the peaks of lasting fulfillment, meaning and purpose.

Seligman, 2002

This article will outline the PERMA+ model and the theory of wellbeing, and provide practical ways to apply its components in your private practice or personal life.

Before you continue, we thought you might like to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free. These science-based exercises will explore fundamental aspects of positive psychology including strengths, values, and self-compassion, and will give you the tools to enhance the wellbeing of your clients, students, or employees.

What Is Seligman’s PERMA+ Model?

Abraham Maslow (1962) was one of the first in the field of psychology to describe “wellbeing,” with his characteristics of a self-actualized person. The description of self-actualization is a foreshadowing of the PERMA model, which outlines the characteristics of a flourishing individual and Wellbeing Theory (WBT).

In 1998, Dr. Martin Seligman used his inaugural address as the incoming president of the American Psychological Association to shift the focus from mental illness and pathology to studying what is good and positive in life. From this point in time, theories and research examined positive psychology interventions that help make life worth living and how to define, quantify, and create wellbeing (Rusk & Waters, 2015).

In developing a theory to address this, Seligman (2012) selected five components that people pursue because they are intrinsically motivating and they contribute to wellbeing. These elements are pursued for their own sake and are defined and measured independently of each other (Seligman, 2012).

Additionally, the five components include both eudaimonic and hedonic components, setting WBT apart from other theories of wellbeing.

These five elements or components (PERMA; Seligman, 2012) are

  • Positive emotion
  • Engagement
  • Relationships
  • Meaning
  • Accomplishments

The PERMA model makes up WBT, where each dimension works in concert to give rise to a higher order construct that predicts the flourishing of groups, communities, organizations, and nations (Forgeard, Jayawickreme, Kern, & Seligman, 2011).

Research has shown significant positive associations between each of the PERMA components and physical health, vitality, job satisfaction, life satisfaction, and commitment within organizations (Kern, Waters, Alder, & White, 2014).

PERMA is also a better predictor of psychological distress than previous reports of distress (Forgeard et al., 2011). This means that proactively working on the components of PERMA not only increases aspects of wellbeing, but also decreases psychological distress.

Watch this video where Seligman discusses the PERMA model.


P – Positive Emotion

Positive emotionPositive emotion is much more than mere ‘happiness.’

Positive emotions include hope, interest, joy, love, compassion, pride, amusement, and gratitude.

Positive emotions are a prime indicator of flourishing, and they can be cultivated or learned to improve wellbeing (Fredrickson, 2001).

When individuals can explore, savor, and integrate positive emotions into daily life (and visualizations of future life), it improves habitual thinking and acting. Positive emotions can undo the harmful effects of negative emotions and promote resilience (Tugade & Fredrickson, 2004).

Increasing positive emotions helps individuals build physical, intellectual, psychological, and social resources that lead to this resilience and overall wellbeing.

Ways to build positive emotion include:

  • Spending time with people you care about
  • Doing activities that you enjoy (hobbies)
  • Listening to uplifting or inspirational music
  • Reflecting on things you are grateful for and what is going well in your life


E – Engagement

According to Seligman (2012), engagement is “being one with the music.” It is in line with Csikszentmihalyi’s (1989) concept of “flow.” Flow includes the loss of self-consciousness and complete absorption in an activity. In other words, it is living in the present moment and focusing entirely on the task at hand.

Flow, or this concept of engagement, occurs when the perfect combination of challenge and skill/strength is found (Csikszentmihalyi & LeFevre, 1989).

People are more likely to experience flow when they use their top character strengths. Research on engagement has found that individuals who try to use their strengths in new ways each day for a week were happier and less depressed after six months (Seligman, Steen, Park, & Peterson, 2005).

The concept of engagement is something much more powerful than simply “being happy,” but happiness is one of the many byproducts of engagement.

Ways to increase engagement:

  • Participate in activities that you really love, where you lose track of time when you do them.
  • Practice living in the moment, even during daily activities or mundane tasks.
  • Spend time in nature, watching, listening, and observing what happens around you.
  • Identify and learn about your character strengths, and do things that you excel at.


R – Positive Relationships

Positive relationshipsRelationships encompass all the various interactions individuals have with partners, friends, family members, colleagues, bosses/mentors/supervisors, and their community at large.

Relationships in the PERMA model refer to feeling supported, loved, and valued by others. Relationships are included in the model based on the idea that humans are inherently social creatures (Seligman, 2012). There is evidence of this everywhere, but social connections become particularly important as we age.

The social environment has been found to play a critical role in preventing cognitive decline, and strong social networks contribute to better physical health among older adults (Siedlecki, Salthouse, Oishi, & Jeswani, 2014).

Many people have a goal of improving relationships with those they are closest to. Research has demonstrated that sharing good news or celebrating success fosters strong bonds and better relationships (Siedlecki et al., 2014). Additionally, responding enthusiastically to others, particularly in close or intimate relationships, increases intimacy, wellbeing, and satisfaction.

How to build relationships:

  • Join a class or group that interests you.
  • Ask questions of the people you don’t know well to find out more about them.
  • Create friendships with people you are acquainted with.
  • Get in touch with people you have not spoken to or connected with in a while.


M – Meaning

Another intrinsic human quality is the search for meaning and the need to have a sense of value and worth. Seligman (2012) discussed meaning as belonging and/or serving something greater than ourselves. Having a purpose in life helps individuals focus on what is really important in the face of significant challenge or adversity.

Having meaning or purpose in life is different for everyone. Meaning may be pursued through a profession, a social or political cause, a creative endeavor, or a religious/spiritual belief. It may be found in a career or through extracurricular, volunteer, or community activities.

A sense of meaning is guided by personal values, and people who report having purpose in life live longer and have greater life satisfaction and fewer health problems (Kashdan, Mishra, Breen, & Froh, 2009).

Ways to build meaning:

  • Get involved in a cause or organization that matters to you.
  • Try new, creative activities to find things you connect with.
  • Think about how you can use your passions to help others.
  • Spend quality time with people you care about.


A – Accomplishments/Achievements

AchievementAccomplishment in PERMA is also known as achievement, mastery, or competence.

A sense of accomplishment is a result of working toward and reaching goals, mastering an endeavor, and having self-motivation to finish what you set out to do. This contributes to wellbeing because individuals can look at their lives with a sense of pride (Seligman, 2012).

Accomplishment includes the concepts of perseverance and having a passion to attain goals. But flourishing and wellbeing come when accomplishment is tied to striving toward things with an internal motivation or working toward something just for the sake of the pursuit and improvement (Quinn, 2018).

Achieving intrinsic goals (such as growth and connection) leads to larger gains in wellbeing than external goals such as money or fame (Seligman, 2013).

Ways to build accomplishment:

  • Set goals that are SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound).
  • Reflect on past successes.
  • Look for creative ways to celebrate your achievements.


The Plus (+) in PERMA


Optimism is a positive emotion critical to building resilience and wellbeing. Optimism is the belief that life will have more good outcomes than bad. People who are optimistic are more likely to be resilient to stressful life events (Carver, Scheier, & Segerstrom, 2010).

Optimistic people tend to live longer, have better postoperative outcomes and lower levels of depression, and adjust better to college life (Carver et al., 2010).


Physical activity

Physical activity has been linked to wellbeing in numerous ways. Negative emotions are associated with an increased risk of physical disease and poor health habits, and people with mental illness are more likely to be physically inactive (Hyde, Maher, & Elavsky, 2013).

There are obvious physical benefits to being active, but increasing movement or activity also decreases symptoms of depression, anxiety, and loneliness and improves mental focus and clarity (Hyde et al., 2013).



Poor nutrition leads to physical health problems such as obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer, but there is significant research demonstrating a relationship between diet and mental health (Stranges, Samaraweera, Taggart, Kandala, & Stewart-Brown, 2014).

Eating a balanced diet rich in vegetables and nutrients (and limiting processed or sugary foods) has been associated with wellbeing. High levels of wellbeing were reported by individuals who ate more fruits and vegetables (Stranges et al., 2014). A review of research on children and adolescents found that a poor diet (high levels of saturated fat, refined carbohydrates, and processed foods) was linked to poorer mental health (O’Neil et al., 2014).

So what should we eat? There are many “super foods” found in nature, such as berries, cruciferous vegetables, avocados, nuts, and seeds. A Mediterranean diet that is high in vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, beans, cereals, grains, fish, and unsaturated fats has been shown to reduce depression symptoms and provides an array of physical health benefits (Parletta et al., 2017).



Neuroimaging and neurochemistry research suggests that good sleep hygiene fosters mental and emotional resilience, and sleep deprivation leads to negative thinking and emotional vulnerability (Harvard Medical School, 2019). Further, sleep problems are more likely to affect people with psychiatric disorders and may increase the risk of developing mental illness.

Particularly, insomnia increases the risk of developing depression.

Getting seven to nine hours of quality sleep during the same hours every night is recommended (Harvard Medical School, 2019). Lifestyle changes such as avoiding caffeine, nicotine, and alcohol; getting physical activity; decreasing screen time; and using the bedroom only for sleep and sex can improve sleep quality.

Relaxation techniques and cognitive behavioral techniques to reduce stress and anxiety can also be effective ways to improve sleep and overall wellbeing.


Training in PERMA+: 3 Options

Training in PERMAPositive psychology and the science of wellbeing has become a popular area of research and practice.

Training in PERMA can be helpful for improving performance, building resilience, and increasing success and life satisfaction. Here are three options for obtaining training in PERMA.


The Penn Resilience Program and PERMA workshops

The Penn Resilience Program and PERMA workshops are evidence-based training options that strive to build resilience, wellbeing, and optimism. The workshops are designed to offer practical skills for individuals, teams, and organizations that reduce mental health issues and improve quality of life.


The SAHMRI Wellbeing and Resilience Centre

The Wellbeing and Resilience Centre aims to decrease mental illness by improving mental health and wellbeing. With the understanding that wellbeing is multi-dimensional, PERMA+ is the foundation used to train leaders how to deliver skills and interventions to the community.


The Science of Happiness Course

Offered through UC Berkeley, the Science of Happiness Course, with an optional certificate, focuses on all aspects of PERMA without actually focusing on the acronym.

The course discusses research on happiness (positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievements) and provides practical activities to improve and measure individual happiness and wellbeing.


3 PERMA+ Activities & Interventions

PERMA activities and interventions are applicable to individuals suffering from mental health disorders as well as those who simply want to improve levels of flourishing. The following interventions can be implemented during any point in a treatment program or as standalone activities to increase wellbeing.


1. Your character strengths

Find your character strengths using the VIA Survey. Much of the research on PERMA uses the assessment of these 24 character strengths.

Learning your unique character strengths can help guide you into meaningful activities (engagement) and work (accomplishment).


2. Track and measure success

This worksheet helps clients set goals and track progress. Often, we take the first step in setting goals but do not take the time to reflect on the emotions elicited when we have achieved them.


3. Gratitude journal

One of the most common activities mentioned throughout research on flourishing and wellbeing is the impact of gratitude. This article about creating a Gratitude Journal provides comprehensive background information and specific details and activities to implement a gratitude journal or routine into daily life.


4 Helpful Questionnaires and Questions to Ask

Helpful questionnairesQuestionnaires and assessments are useful tools in positive psychology.

Not only do they provide a way to measure wellbeing, but they are another way to track the effectiveness of interventions and therapeutic techniques.

The following assessments can also offer ideas for specific or individual questions that help clients gain insight and self-awareness.


1. PERMA Profiler

The PERMA Profiler is an extensive questionnaire from the University of Pennsylvania that assesses each of Seligman’s (2012) components of wellbeing or flourishing.

This can be an excellent resource to assess clients as they progress through therapy, coaching, or interventions in positive psychology or counseling.


2. The Workplace PERMA Profile

The Workplace PERMA Profile is created by the same authors as the individual PERMA Profiler, but it is designed to assess groups and organizations.

Leaders can use this to assess workers or teams and improve wellbeing in the environment, which will lead to better performance.


3. PURPOSE+ PERMA Profiler

This PURPOSE+ PERMA Profiler is a quick online assessment that asks relevant questions related to each component of PERMA.

It is a fast and efficient way to assess and compare levels of wellbeing. It will email the results directly to you and compares your PERMA scores with other people in the same demographic. The questions asked in the short survey also provide a great starting point for therapy, coaching, or consulting.


4. The Flourishing Scale

The Flourishing Scale asks participants to rate themselves on specific areas of wellbeing. Flourishing is one of the most important components of resilience and wellbeing.

This scale can be used as a tool for motivational interviewing to inspire ideas for self-improvement, or it can be used as an assessment to track progress.’s Relevant Resources

Our Positive Psychology Toolbox provides a wealth of resources that cover the full range of components from Wellbeing Theory and PERMA. The assessments, exercises, and activities can be implemented and integrated into any stage of therapy or as standalone activities.

We list a few suggestions:


1. Strengths for Altruism

The Strengths for Altruism worksheet is helpful once an individual has identified their strengths. We all have strengths and have a choice of what we do with them. Using strengths in an altruistic way can promote engagement, relationship, and meaning.


2. Gratitude Letter

Creating a Gratitude Letter is one of the most effective exercises used in the PERMA model. Just like the gratitude journal mentioned earlier, fostering gratitude can significantly improve all aspects of PERMA (positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and accomplishment). To make the letter specific to Wellbeing Theory, gratitude can be targeted to each of the five areas.


3. Build an Emotions Portfolio

This free Emotions Portfolio tool is a great resource to help clients build a database or toolbox of positive emotions. Hope, gratitude, awe, joy, and inspiration are positive emotions that have been linked to wellbeing and are explored here.


4. 17 Positive Psychology Exercises

If you’re looking for more science-based ways to help others enhance their wellbeing, this signature collection contains 17 validated positive psychology tools for practitioners. Use them to help others flourish and thrive.


A Take-Home Message

We all want to experience a higher level of wellbeing and “flourish” in life. The PERMA+ model is an evidence-based approach to improve “happiness” and decrease anxiety, depression, and stress.

Many activities can be used to systematically increase positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, and achievement (PERMA). The good thing is that the areas of PERMA can be mutually exclusive, but in most ways, they are not. For example, by using mindfulness exercises to increase engagement, one will probably also experience more positive emotion and meaning in life.

We hope you enjoyed reading this article. Don’t forget to download our three Positive Psychology Exercises for free.

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  • Csikszentmihalyi, M., & LeFevre, J. (1989) Optimal experience in work and leisure. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 56(5), 815–822.
  • Forgeard, M. J., Jayawickreme, E., Kern, M., & Seligman, M. (2011). Doing the right thing: Measuring wellbeing for public policy. International Journal of Wellbeing, 1(1), 79–106.
  • Fredrickson, B. L. (2001). The role of positive emotions in positive psychology: The broaden-and-build theory of positive emotions. American Psychologist, 56(3), 218–226.
  • Harvard Medical School. (2019). Sleep and mental health. Harvard Mental Health Letter. Retrieved from
  • Hyde, A. L., Maher, J. P., & Elavsky, S. (2013). Enhancing our understanding of physical activity and wellbeing with a lifespan perspective. International Journal of Wellbeing, 3(1), 98–115.
  • Kashdan, T. B., Mishra, A., Breen, W. E., & Froh, J. J. (2009). Gender differences in gratitude: Examining appraisals, narratives, the willingness to express emotions and changes in psychological needs. Journal of Personality, 77(3), 691–730.
  • Kern, M., Waters, L., Alder, A., & White, M. (2014). Assessing employee wellbeing in schools using a multifaceted approach: Associations with physical health, life satisfaction and professional thriving. Psychology, 5(6), 500–513.
  • Maslow, A. (1962). Toward a psychology of being. Princeton, NJ: D. van Nostrand.
  • O’Neil, A., Quirk, S. E., Housden, S., Brennan, S. L., Williams, L. J., Pasco, J. A., & Jacka, F. N. (2014). Relationship between diet and mental health in children and adolescents: A systematic review. American Journal of Public Health, 104(10), 31–42.
  • Parletta, N., Zarnowiecki, D., Cho, J., Wilson, A., Bogomolova, S., Villani, A., … O’Dea, K. (2017). A Mediterranean-style dietary intervention supplemented with fish oil improves diet quality and mental health in people with depression: A randomized controlled trial. Nutritional Neuroscience, 22(1), 1–14.
  • Quinn, A. (2018, February 3). Theory of well-being: Elements and interventions. GoodTherapy Blog. Retrieved from
  • Rusk, R. & Waters, D. (2015). A psycho-social system approach to well-being: Empirically deriving the five domains of positive functioning. The Journal of Positive Psychology, 10(2), 141–152.
  • Seligman, M. E. (2002). Authentic happiness: Using the new positive psychology to realize your potential for lasting fulfillment. New York, NY: Free Press.
  • Seligman, M. E. (2012). Flourish: A visionary new understanding of happiness and well-being. New Y0rk, NY: Atria Paperback.
  • Seligman, M. E. (2013). Building the state of well-being: A strategy for South Australia. Government of South Australia.
  • Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410–421.
  • Siedlecki, K. L., Salthouse, T. A., Oishi, S., & Jeswani, S. (2014). The relationship between social support and subjective wellbeing across age. Social Indicators Research, 117(2), 561–576.
  • Stranges, S., Samaraweera, P. C., Taggart, F., Kandala, N. B., & Stewart-Brown, S. (2014). Major health related behaviors and mental wellbeing in the general population: The health survey for England. BMJ Open, 4(9).
  • Tugade, M., & Fredrickson, B. L. (2004). Resilient individuals use positive emotions to bounce back from negative emotional experiences. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86(2), 320–333.

About the Author

Dr. Melissa Madeson, Ph.D., believes in a holistic approach to mental health and wellness and uses a person-centered approach when working with clients.   Currently in full-time private practice, she uses her experience with performance psychology, teaching, and designing collegiate wellness courses and yoga therapy to address a range of specific client needs.


  1. Michele

    Thank you so much for this insightful explanation of PERMA+ I am currently studying my Masters in Positive Psychology and find this to be most helpful.

  2. Alvin R

    Thank you for all the work in creating the positive psychology frameworks and tools. I have recently finished reading Flourish and it has basically equipped me with the tools I need to maintain my well-being.

    I work in the technology industry (specifically cyber security) and I was just wondering if there’s been any papers / works published that looks into how the PERMA model could be applied to an “organisational function” (e.g. IT, Finance, etc.) in order for the function to “flourish” in the organisation.

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Alvin,

      We’re so glad you’ve found the materials and tools on our site useful — thank you!

      That’s an interesting question. What I can say is that given PERMA is a framework focused on factors driving well-being, I can’t say I’ve seen its tenets mapped onto the dimensions of an organization before besides through a focus on the well-being of its employees. With that in mind, I’d suggest looking at this blog post from a researcher from the University of Calgary, who recommends strategies for promoting staff well-being through each of PERMA’s 5+ arms (see Table 1).

      A second source of reading I’d recommend is The Happiness Advantage by Shawn Achor. I haven’t read it myself but have heard it talks about some of PERMA’s dimensions in the context of career and working life. In general, however, I haven’t seen PERMA applied quite as much in the organizational space when it comes to research papers, but hopefully this gives you some reading nonetheless.

      – Nicole | Community Manager


    Muy interesante no había escuchado sobre esto.
    muchas gracias.
    me encantó.

  4. Eduardo Santos

    Meu nome é Eduardo, moro em São Paulo – Brasil e sou psicólogo Clínico e sempre usei em meu trabalho a terapia centrada na pessoa, buscando despertar no paciente seus maiores valores e potencias internos. Fiquei feliz com a leitura desse artigo e me identifiquei profundamente com ele. O PERMA nos mostra que no mundo atual esses elementos abordados é que fazem o bem estar do ser humano e sua forma de atuar e se sentir no mundo ajudando em seu autoconhecimento e crescimento interior, além de ajudá-lo a contribuir para um mundo melhor.
    Ótimo artigo!!

  5. lee du ploy

    I have over the many years , after closing my practice , followed various methods and put into practice with fortitude and passion these , read an enormous ammount , attended courses all over the world , with papers attached to say I was there.
    Only to discover when I was seventy five that my grandfather was right all the time.
    Commonsense , and kindness with fortutude solves many emotional problems , I live in Hong Kong where I apply this(outrages) therapy approach , no semantics or intelect needed just a simple kindness with the message , that you too , inspite of your shortcommings , can live a better life with a little help and encouragement .
    It seems to work .

    bye from Hong Kong.

  6. Salsabila

    Dear Prof. Mellisa, I’m Salsabila from Indonesia

    Recently I’m working for my final undergraduate thesis and i examining about the correlation between self-compassion and flourishing in college student.
    Can you explain about what is the things that can influence people to be flourish?

    Thank you in advance, Prof. Mellisa. Good day!

    • Nicole Celestine, Ph.D.

      Hi Salsabila,

      For a useful review of flourishing’s antecedents, I’d recommend checking out the following review by Agenor et al. (2017).

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  7. Remone Forbes

    Amazing , love every moment of this video.

  8. Catarina Cascais

    Wondering if anyone of you know of any Perma intervention program using animal assisted therapy to prevent depression and loneliness on elderly population?

    Thanks in advance

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Catarina,

      I’m unfamiliar with any programs myself, but hopefully one of our other readers will be able to point you in the right direction. In the meantime, if you’re looking for some reading in the space from a research perspective, you might find the following articles by Crowley-Robinson et al (1998) and Yerbury & Boyd (2019) helpful.

      – Nicole | Community Manager

    • Henry Ostendorf

      Not sure if this helps but Openhouse Lgbt senior center in Sf offers a virtual animal assisted therapy program.

      Virtual visit to Muttville!
      Wednesday, February 17 2:30-3:30PM
      Love dogs and want to feel some pure doggie-related joy? Join us for a monthly virtual visit to Muttville where we will watch the senior dogs gallivant around the headquarters, learn the stories of the dogs who are there, and spend some time enjoying the company of our community and some doggie companions.
      Register with Ariel at or (415) 503-4180.

  9. Tim Davis

    I found this article very Informative ! during this tough times of covid-19 one needs to focus on goals and take care of health like basic diet and little bit of exercises.

  10. Roshan Dhungel

    I have had encountered Martin Seligman’s PERMA model before a year while learning on, science of Well-being. I found it more holistic than just seeking for happiness. We, as a human thrive for joy(in life) which mislead to happiness later.
    On Meaning or purpose of life and our existence on earth seems more metaphysical, I believe Seligman’s Meaning or purpose to life do not ask us to seek spiritual master or associated to some religion, instead it asks: looking for a bigger picture of our connectedness to nature, every living beings and harmonizing relation to each other.

  11. Barry Glum

    As a career counselor I work with quite a few people that have no idea what their goals in life are or why they should have them. Many of them seem to have little hope in things getting better for them. They have given little thought as to their strengths and how they can use them to have more self-assurance and get out of their very small comfort zones.

    Working from where they are at and exploring their dreams, ambitions and hopes, opens the way for them to see that they do not need to feel stuck, that they can do great things, even hard things, with the right encouragement and support, and that the effort will produce even greater opportunities for them as they see begin to see themselves as achievers with a higher sense of self-worth.

  12. salma

    Where does motivation fit in the PERMA model? can you explain?

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Salma,

      Thanks for your question! My thinking is that any of the elements in PERMA may function as targets of our motivation. For instance, we are all motivated to pursue positive emotions, authentic connections, a sense of accomplishment, etc.

      Thus, the elements in PERMA can be thought of as desired outcomes, and we as individuals can mobilize our motivation and engage in self-regulation to help reach these outcomes.

      I hope that answers your question!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

      • Nicky Ong

        Hi Nicole, I’m developing an alarm app that aims to wake people up happier with positive thoughts and affirmation. Was wondering if you could share your thoughts on where to get more resources for this?
        From our testing so far, the content cannot be too mentally strenuous. And a <1 minute speech is ideal. Simple affirmations and positive thoughts seem to be the most practical from our user feedback thus far.
        Please let me know what you think:)

        • Nicole Celestine

          Hi Nicky,

          That sounds like a great app idea! I can’t really point you to specific scientific articles about whether affirmations centering around certain themes are more or less effective than others (I’m not sure there is much research on this), but a first point of call may be to take a look at our article about positive daily affirmations. This article has a lot of resources and links to sources of affirmations and will point you to papers about the science and overarching theory behind positive affirmations, relating to self-efficacy and self-concept. You may also find some inspiration for specific affirmations in Zhanna Hamilton’s audiobook. Given that it’s in an audio format, I’d suspect some of these affirmations may be ideal for alarm clock audio.

          Hope this helps!

          – Nicole | Community Manager

    • Abi

      Being a mental health occupational therapist, i believe motivation intertwines with engagement and meaning of perma model. Because what we find meaningful internally motivates us and reinforces the engagement.

  13. Harry Teodoro A. Crisanto

    I find the lecture very fascinating, in-depth, practical and useful. It will really be a great help for myself, family, friends and people who i care for. Thank you

  14. Bhabani

    I found this article very helpful, but I have some doubt or confusion. I understand that Relationship is an important key element for our survival. But, how can an introvert person, who draws energy from contemplative thinking and avoids socializing, incorporate this element (R) of the PERMA model into his life?
    Thank you for the article.

    Best Regards.

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Bhabani,

      This is a great question! Indeed, it may seem paradoxical that introverts draw energy from contemplation and solitude, yet relationships feature in the PERMA model. However, introvert or extrovert, all of us require relationships and social connection — as humans, we’re just wired that way. While long stints of socializing may tire introverts, rich relationships still contribute to an introvert’s overall happiness. It’s just that they may need to take regular breaks and have time alone to ensure they are seeing the benefits of these relationships.

      For more on this, have a read of this article.

      Hope this helps!

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  15. Stefan Steffansson

    Do you consider updating this information with PERMA+ where Seligman added Physical Activity, Nutrition, Sleep and Optimism to the original PERMA model? I’m also curious to know more about the research an validity behind this “+”.

    Cheers from Sweden!

    • Simon

      Martin Seligman was given a grant of $1,200,000 that produced a lot of scientific research. See his 2011 book “Flourish”. This has led to an enormous amount of research. It has branched out from PERMA, PERMA+ and PERMAH.

      PERMA was a starting point. It now includes things like Kristin Neff’s Self-compassion, Michelle McQuaid’s positive workplaces and even they’ve found that while happiness makes us smile, it works in reverse that smiling makes us feel happy.

  16. Abhijaya Mukherjee

    It has enlighten me in a wider aspect. Even though I knew these beforehand it gave me a really concrete explanation of how the positive psychology works. I can now apply these in my practical life as well as help those in need.

  17. Riazulhaq

    it made me conscious of the main switch of happiness and to feel life closely..I find myself prone to adapt all that because these may be the the thoughts already there in mind but now they are worded….an in some concrete shape before me… a writing on the wall….thanx a lot

  18. Yuvajani

    After feeding my mind with PERMA i feel something enthusiastic,that i should engage myself self in somthing best , better not to worry about something and accomplish the meaning of what my life is.

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Yuvajani,
      Glad you took something away from this reading. I agree that sometimes it’s best to just pick something you feel passionate about and go for it! Once you do, sometimes an understanding of purpose and higher meaning will become apparent later down the track.
      Thanks for reading.
      – Nicole | Community Manager

  19. likhitha

    After feeding mind with model of PERMA my mental health changed from “thinking i’m with depression” to “now i can handle any illness” very helpful

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi likhita,
      So glad you’ve found success putting the principles of PERMA into practice. Keep up the good work!
      – Nicole | Community Manager

      • aadi

        Let’s see whether it works..

  20. Chaudhari Aishwarya Bharat

    I am a student and wanted to improve my mental health and I think positive emotion and engagement are the best part of PERMA model.

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Chaudhari,
      Congratulations on making a commitment to improving your mental health. I’m glad to hear that this model resonated with you. If you’d like some more materials to help you with your mental health goals, consider checking out this blog post where we walk through 26 science-backed mental health exercises.
      – Nicole | Community Manager

  21. Ana

    I dreamed about this word last night, I didn’t have any idea of what its meaning could be.
    Really helpful 🙂

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Ana,
      So glad to hear you found our article helpful (and how interesting that it came to you in a dream!)
      – Nicole | Community Manager

  22. Pamela LeBlanc

    I love my job as an Activity Coordinator at an Adult Day Health Program. I get so excited to have my seniors actively involved in any project I set out for them. I have found that if I am losing a few i break out in a song like You Are My Sunshine or I just come out of my office singing (believe me I was NOT hired for my singing!) but the seniors react to it and I have even heard a few times …oh here she comes, what is she gonna do now? It makes my day to know I am keeping them engaged!

  23. Bram Wiley

    Reading this for a class, and thought this was wonderfully written! I was surprised to learn that our pain centers are activated when we are isolated in our lives.
    Thank you!

  24. layla eardman

    I am a high school student and I used this for my student leadership program and it was very helpful and I found it interesting that there are so many things u can do to achieve ur goals” never give up ” 🙂

  25. isaac newton

    my teacher made me read this 🙂

  26. Dana Bates (PHD)

    What is the theoretical relationship between PERMA and the 24 Character Strengths of VIA? I find VIA a lot richer and finely textured and PERMA to be somewhat shallow, though much simpler (which might be the point). One question: We know positive emotions are based in part upon positive values (lived values) which is connected with VIA/24 strengths. Might the VIA framework be a way of parsing out Positive Emotions?

    • Nicole Celestine

      Hi Dana,

      All great questions! I agree that PERMA is quite a high-level roadmap to pursuing happiness. I suppose a key difference between PERMA and VIA is that PERMA is a guide for driving behavior. That is, it can help us make decisions about where the channel our energy and how to behave that can lead to happiness. For instance, we can invest time in developing fruitful relationships or contributing to a greater cause to find meaning.

      The five elements of PERMA apply no matter the person. But as you note, VIA may help you to drill down and discover how to pursue these 5 drivers of happiness in a way that is tailored to the individual. For instance, someone with Leadership as one of their strengths may find that they experience greater meaning (and greater subsequent happiness) when they can take up leadership positions, thereby behaving in accordance with this strength.

      What do you think? 🙂

      – Nicole | Community Manager

  27. Helena Virk

    This was so great. Very inspiring and interesting.

  28. Noor Afshan

    It is easy to understand the these steps and useful in our practical life too.. thanks for sharing.

  29. dr chetana jindani

    I found it very useful and organized.. it’s just wonderful.. easy to apply for betterment

  30. Estefani

    Awesome, thank you for the great article.

    • Jonah

      how do I learn to be happy with five children and an alcoholic wife

      • Nicole Celestine

        Hi Jonah,

        I’m sorry to read that you are struggling. In situations where there are challenges within the family, the best thing you can usually do is reach out for outside support. A therapist is usually a good first point of call, as they can also connect you to additional services.

        You can find a directory of licensed therapists here (and note that you can change the country setting in the top-right corner). You’ll also find that there are a range of filters to help you drill down to the type of support you need (e.g., family/marital).

        I hope you and your family can find the help you need.

        – Nicole | Community Manager

  31. sankalp

    I am from Maharashtra India working as a lecturer I fill very useful prema technic thanks

  32. Norma Gibbs


  33. Trish

    Thank you for showing this. I found this so inspiring to watch and I am now thirsty to find out more about this psychology model!

  34. Denitz

    PP has totally transformed my life and am now looking to helping one person at a time. Thanks Prof Seligman. Off to make more disciples

  35. Linda Berg

    This is a wonderful, inspirational talk.

  36. Magnus Karlsson

    Well this is the way to live, van you imagen half of the population never smiling or experince well being excelent theory,:)
    And it is spot on how at least I enjoy life, fell fre to visit at my feel good service at and share a happy memory/ experience and get to Knowles me better on our story(soon aviable in English)

  37. Christo

    Thank you, this is inspirational!

  38. edoardo

    Thank you so much for this. I work as psychologist in Italy and I’m going to use this with patients, especially in cases of recovery from surgical interventions and serious illnesses.

  39. Alan Achterberg

    Thank you so much for all of this! We are building a Peer Recovery Model here in Southern California and hope to adopt some of this into our program for Coaching.

  40. Alan Achterberg

    Thank you so much for doing this! The Orange County Recovery Community hopes to have a bigger representation next year.

  41. Faye Dolle

    Could you please reference Mariana’s last name? I need it for referencing. thanks

    • Anna Smits

      Sure Faye! Her last name is Pascha.

      • Anda

        are you sure? she’s no longer part of the team though.

  42. sarah

    thank you for useful and intelligible text.

  43. uzma

    Amazing, I love learning about Positive Psychology and the resources available to use.
    Thanks a lot!

  44. Jess

    thank you Mariana rawrrrr xD

  45. chris barnes

    When I initially qualified in psychology it was all about studying theories proposed by a group of dead Germans and learning how we may be able to fix people when they broke. It had parallels with medicine in the way that it has evolved to look at how to make the best of people so they are resistant to breaking. Martin Seligman has to be credited to this shift towards positive psychology. “Authentic Happiness” has to be one of the most influential publications in the field.

  46. huge

    this is was a very helpful website I found out a lot about mental well being and mental health

  47. hsdjfhsdfj'

    ya my dude. relatable. thx helped mef or exam lollll

  48. Ramanjit Garewal

    Dear All…
    Nice informative write up…
    Thank you…
    Presently I am pursuing my MPhil at the Department of Philosophy… Mumbai University…
    My research topic for my MPhil dissertation is Happiness…
    Especially from an Indian perspective…
    I will appreciate it if any or all of you could forward me relevant Links…to aricles… Journals… Books…
    Thanking you…
    My email id is

  49. gustavo

    Thank you Mariana!

  50. Jessie van den Heuvel

    This post has been updated on the 24th of February 2017. Please enjoy!

  51. ines

    ou pouvais je trouver ce modele en Français, exercice, approche….

    • Seph Fontane Pennock

      Bonjour Ines, je suis pas sure si ou où ce modele est disponible en Francais. Est-ce que tu as essayé

  52. Leoni

    Dear all,
    We have a training company in Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Our work is PERMA inspired and we are looking for a measurement tool to use for big groups like communities and teams. Does anyone have contacts/experience with doing zero measurements and second measurements with PERMA? I would be incredibly grateful to hear from you. All the best, Leoni Over The Moon Amsterdam

  53. Susan

    I world watt to Know ir the PERMA MODEL can be put among the cognitive theory

  54. Iman Setiadi Arif

    Hello, I’m just curious about the scientific status of this PERMA model. Has it been validated scientifically? Thank you very much.
    Clinical Psychologist
    Lecturer at
    Maranatha Christian University
    BAndung – Indonesia

    • Steve Milton

      Hi Iman
      The PERMA model is scientifically verified and peer reviewed – there are many published articles. Check out Dr Martin Seligman’s (Psych, University of Pennsylvania) website for more details.
      Steve Milton

  55. Joseph Plowman

    I would argue that, firstly, as Seligman himself says, PERMA is not a theory of happiness. (Seligman even denies there are such meaningful theories with happiness as a unitary construct.)
    I would also argue that PERMA as Seligman describes it is not just about ‘psychological wellbeing’. Rather, it’s about wellbeing itself, and aims to be a comprehensive list of objective goods. Psychological wellbeing would imply subjective states ontologically, albeit objective in existence. But wellbeing itself, or flourishing, is an objective state which is only partially instantiated by psychological factors.
    Just my two-cents. 🙂

    • Yani

      Hello, Joseph. Im just wondering, is it still okay if we use PERMA model to measure happiness? Because i found it in so many research about happiness, so im kinda confused about the differences between happiness and well being

      • Nicole Celestine

        Hi Yani,

        I don’t know about the specific scope of PERMA (and whether it would be appropriate to use it for a happiness measure), but I can recommend the following scale by Lyubomirsky and Lepper as a widely used scale assessing subjective happiness.

        Hope this helps.

        – Nicole | Community Manager

  56. Javier Santos

    Thank you for the summary Mariana!


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