Measuring Human Flourishing: How’s Your PERMA?

Dr. Martin Seligman, credited as the father of Positive Psychology, describes and measures human flourishing and well-being based on five elements, i.e., PERMA. 

P–Pleasurable emotions (happiness, contentment, rapture, elation)

E–Engagement, aka Flow (being totally immersed in what you are pursuing in the moment)

R–Relationships (family, friends, worthwhile/enjoyable social connection)

M–Meaning (a sense of belonging, purpose, and service to something bigger than yourself)

A–Achievement (accomplishing new levels of skill acquisition, i.e., competence) 

What I like most about this mnemonic is how it can be a useful mental model for more deliberately reflecting on life events. For example, you can filter your training sessions through PERMA: 

  1. What positive emotions did you experience?
  2. How engaged and present were you?
  3. How connected were you to your fellow classmates/coach?
  4. In what ways did/does the training session connect to other parts of your life outside the gym? 
  5. What did you accomplish today and/or was there an opportunity to work on becoming more competent at certain skills? 

I encourage you to use this mental model to debrief your future training sessions. 

At the very least, you’ll become more aware of your experience and how it is contributing to your daily and overall well-being and ability to flourish. You now have another way of keeping tabs on your own intentional, sustainable growth. 

P.S. This is what I consider an example of a tangible and tactical mental skillset, i.e., when I deliver mental skills coaching, mental models like PERMA are used to help individuals improve their ability to become more self-aware to then accurately self-regulate and self-evaluate given the circumstances and their desired outcomes. 

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