What is Positive Psychology?

Positive psychology is the scientific study of human strengths and virtues. Positive psychology was founded on the belief that we ought to apply the same scientific  rigor used to understand human suffering and mental illness to study human happiness and mental health. Nearly thirty years later, researchers and practitioners around the globe have seen tremendous benefits in teaching and practicing the science of happiness.

How is YOUR Wellbeing?

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The PERMA+ Theory is a framework developed by Dr. Martin Seligman, the founding father of positive psychology. PERMA+ stands for the essential elements of human flourishing. Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Mattering, Accomplishment, and Health are the critical components to a good life.

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    Positive Emotions

    We can increase our wellbeing by enhancing how we experience positive emotions and pleasure in both frequency and intensity. Positive emotions such as love, joy, gratitude, pride, inspiration, hope, interest, serenity, amusement, and awe. We have the capacity to increase our positive emotions about the past, present, and the future.

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    An optimal human experience, which has been referred to as “flow,” is when we are truly absorbed and engaged in a situation or task by using our skills, strengths, and full attention. We lose a sense of self, lose track of time, and concentrate intensely on the present. The more we are able to experience this type of engagement, the more likely we are to experience wellbeing.

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    As innately social beings, relationships are fundamental to our wellbeing. Connections to others can give us purpose and meaning, increase motivation, boost our positive emotions, and support us during our hard times, increasing our resilience. We have the ability to cooperate, show empathy, the capacity to love, offer compassion and kindness because the bottom line is … other people matter.

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    A sense of meaning and purpose comes from serving a cause and connecting to something bigger than ourselves. Whether this is family, science, politics, religion, a social cause that helps people of the planet, having a deep sense of purpose increases our wellbeing. Purpose motivates us, protects us from setbacks and failures, and provides us with a greater connection to the world and those around us.

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    We tend to pursue competence, success, achievement, and mastery in a variety of domains. Whether we are seeking to better ourselves through healthy routines and self-care, master a hobby or skill, achieve a valuable goal or promotion at work, or win a competitive event, accomplishment is an important element of wellbeing.

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    Although health was not included in Dr. Martin Seligman’s original framework of wellbeing and flourishing, we know that it is a vital element of wellbeing. Nutrition,  movement, and sleep fuel our bodies and minds to get us ready to pursue each of the other elements of PERMA, enhancing our wellbeing!

This Month's Featured Skill

PERMA+ Snapshot is all about reflecting and tracking the essential elements of wellbeing. When our community, including people with autism and educators, regularly tracks their wellbeing, it leads to practicing the skills that can boost wellbeing.

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