How to promote wellbeing and resilience using the PERMA model

Mental wellbeing: who doesn't want to achieve it? And yet, life presents us with so many obstacles, large and small, that we believe this is an almost impossible task. But what if the trick to feeling good is to choose to focus on activities and thoughts that increase positive emotions, rather than just trying to eliminate sources of discomfort? The PERMA model identifies the 5 dimensions that contribute to building well-being and resilience in individuals. And which can also be applied in a professional context.

theory and tips!

Well-being and resilience at the top of the HR priority list

It’s not new that happy employees are more satisfied and productive employees. But what do professionals need to be happy? People's needs change along with the context, and until a few years ago, a good salary was the basis of an individual's job satisfaction, today other factors make a difference.

First and foremost, the company's attention to the psychophysical wellbeing and mental health of its employees. But how can individuals' peace of mind be guaranteed when the world of work constantly confronts them with changes and new challenges? The key is to create an environment in which everyone is free to build their own happiness; making room for positive emotions and letting them become a source of energy to successfully overcome even the inevitable difficulties that professional life puts in front of them. To do this, it can be very useful to take inspiration from Martin Seligman's PERMA model.

What is the PERMA model?

PERMA model is a model theorised by psychologist Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, which outlines the characteristics of a “flourishing” person. Specifically, Seligman identifies 5 components on which to work voluntarily to flourish, and therefore reduce anxiety, stress and depression: Positive emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Accomplishment.

Since the five dimensions are independent and measured separately, everyone is free to devote more effort to one dimension than to another, following his or her own instincts and inclinations. However, it is important to keep in mind that in many cases the 5 areas tend to positively contaminate each other and can collaborate in building a happier individuality, but also a happier community.

The 5 pillars of the PERMA model:

  • Positive emotions: positive emotions - such as joy, hope, love, gratitude, satisfaction, fun - are the basis of intrinsic motivation. Being able to recognise, savour and integrate these emotions into our lives is very important for improving our attitude and strengthening resilience.
  • Engagement: according to Seligman, we should increase the time we devote to all those activities or situations that involve us so much that we enter a sort of "flow" in which space and time seem to stop, making us focus fully on the present moment.
  • Relationships: Human beings have a deep need to be social and connect with others. Building strong and positive relationships makes us stronger and happier and increases the sense of belonging and protection.
  • Meaning: whether it's volunteering, participating in the organising of an event or acquiring a new skill to achieve a goal, committing our energies to activities that have greater meaning is a source of positive emotions and helps us to overcome difficulties better.
  • Accomplishment: looking back and feeling satisfied that we have achieved a goal or task makes us feel stronger and more secure. And, according to Seligman, this feeling is even stronger when we work on achieving intrinsic goals, such as personal growth.

The PERMA model applied at work

While dedicated to individual flourishing, the PERMA model can be used by companies and their HR teams to create a positive professional environment that helps to promote well-being and foster resilience. Here are some suggestions:

  • Create fertile ground for positive emotions. Although this is something quite subjective, companies have the power to encourage the development of positive emotions. In fact, if your employees enjoy their time at work and benefit from a positive working environment, they will also be able to face difficulties with greater optimism and resilience. This can be achieved by encouraging the exchange of positive feedback and appreciation between colleagues, promoting a good work-life balance and creating leisure opportunities to recharge their batteries.

  • Cultivate personal talent. For your employees to fully enjoy their work and feel involved in what they do, it is important that they are free to follow their own inclinations and develop their talents to the fullest. Therefore, if you offer them the opportunity to grow and build a career path in line with their expectations and wishes, you will have happier, more passionate and engaged employees. And don't forget to celebrate your colleagues' successes appropriately! You will increase self-confidence and loyalty to the organisation by doing so.

  • Encourage positive relationships. Strong social ties contribute to the physical and mental health of all of us. In the professional field, building positive interpersonal relationships is important to create a sense of belonging, improve stress management and increase productivity. Therefore, the task of each company's HR team should be to facilitate interactions between colleagues and promote a healthy feedback culture. Bu there is more to it. It is also important to create opportunities for socialising outside the strictly professional sphere, with team building activities involving the whole company or small moments of decompression dedicated to individual groups. For example, why not organise a team aperitif, or try one of the GoodHabitz Workouts?

  • Share and commit. Knowing that our daily actions contribute to something bigger makes us feel more motivated and connected. And this is especially true at work. So, make sure your employees are always informed about the company's projects and aware of how their work is helping to achieve its goals. In this way, they will feel more involved and assign a deeper meaning to the work they do every day. In addition, promote socially and environmentally responsible activities in your company. You can start by recommending the GoodHabitz sustainability course!

  • Link values and goals. Achieving goals makes us feel good, but to keep your employees happy throughout the process, it is important that they believe in what they do and they feel that they can really make a difference. In this respect, it is the job of line managers and HR managers to recognise and value the potential of their employees, and then to develop career paths in accordance with their values and aspirations. To simplify this process, you can use GoodHabitz's "Personal Action Plan", available on Promo Studio: use it to identify the strengths and growth areas of each of your employees and design their ideal development path together with them.

Working together to build well-being

Corporate well-being cannot be seen as a goal to be pursued, achieved and then crossed off the to-do list. On the contrary! It is a constant process that is always subject to change and adaptation. But it is also a shared process, in which everyone involved must contribute his or her part. Therefore, while the HR team can and should implement a series of actions - such as those suggested by the PERMA model, it is equally important that managers and employees themselves contribute. The goals should all align to help create a corporate culture of mental and physical wellbeing. The former by ensuring that their leadership style is appropriate to the needs of an increasingly dynamic, digital and complex world of work; the latter by taking care of their health, recognising and valuing their strengths and continuing to develop new skills that make them feel stronger, happier and more satisfied.

By following Seligman's PERMA model and encouraging everyone to be at their best in building a positive environment, companies will ensure the well-being of their employees and help them become more resilient and successful in overcoming future challenges with a positive attitude.

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