Today, the world is facing extremely tough challenges at all levels from natural disasters, homelessness, anxiety, depression and this pandemic added a variety of aches and pains.
There are 264 million people worldwide suffering from depression according to the world health Organisation (WHO). The US is considered among the most depressed and anxious countries in the world, ranked third after China, and India.
My first reaction was “what about the others” who are deprived from the basic needs and resources.
The science of happiness came as a result of the evolution of positive psychology, which has nothing to do with positive thinking. Being positive does not mean that your life is perfect. Positive thinking will enable to accept your situation the way it is but it does not mean that you are happy about your life’s conditions.
The whole approach of this new science, which began in 1998, acknowledges both the light and the dark sides of life. According to Dr Martin Seligman, one of the founders of this field, if the person learns to be helpless in his or her life, then this person can also learn to be optimistic. This implies that we are all able to recover from adversity, bounce back from our challenges, and live a happy life.
Positive emotions are the only emotions that can help us thrive and succeed. It can be nurtured and developed to provide us with reservoir of hope, wisdom, well-being, and optimism to face our challenges.
His theory of how to live happier is based on five core elements, which is known as PERMA. Dr. Seligman believes that applying these five elements can help people reach more happiness and fulfillment. Organizations and institutions can also embrace this model to enhance the life of their people by developing the appropriate programs.
Let’s discover the five elements of PERMA model, which stands for Positive emotions, Engagements, Relationships, Meaning, and Achievements:
1.Positive emotions : feeling good, pleasure, joy, and optimism.
We all experience ups and downs in our lives, and light and dark moments. Focusing only on what does not function instead of what functions may increase depression and anxiety. To live happier, you need to focus on what you love, what makes you feel joyful, what brings positive emotions as “your brain is hardwired to perform at its best when it feels positive.”
2. Engagement: fulfilling work, and enjoyable hobbies.
Most people are unhappy in their jobs; or they are doing activities that they don’t like. They are scared to change or move into new jobs as they are unable to go beyond their comfort zone while frustration itself is a great risk on their health.
When you pick up a job, a hobby or activities that bring enjoyment to your life, your body is flooded with positive hormones like dopamine and endorphins that raise your sense of well-being. This engagement will add more to your optimism, create focus, and flow of energy.
3. Positive Relationships: social interactions, love and intimacy
Positive relationships with your parents, your friends, your siblings, and colleagues are key element to your overall well-being. Having great support from others in tough moments is also a key ingredient in developing resilience.
The more support you get from others, the more positive you will be. The opposite is true. When you help others, in return, it can be a greater source of positive emotions and a wonderful experience that can empower you and give you a new sense of purpose in life. It will allow you to renew your vision to overcome life difficulties and carry over into your personal and professional life.
4. Meaning: having a sense of purpose or ikigai
History proved to us that not all happy and successful people had an easy life. A lot of examples experienced lifelong challenges and even tough conditions like Nelson Mandela, but managed to overcome them and live happier.
These people had a great sense of purpose and high level of optimism that enabled them to go over the self and contribute to the life of others. Having a strong faith can also give us a meaning to our lives, or volunteering for a greater cause.
5. Accomplishments: ambitions, realistic goals and achievements
What would you like to accomplish in your life next month, next year? in 10 years? Research proved that people who live happier have clear goals and they keep challenging themselves in order to improve their skills and strengths. Developing a growth mindset as discussed in the early articles can be the cornerstone of improving your whole vision about life.
How can you apply this model in your life?
Your happiness should not depend on the weather, the situation, the people or specific events. Your happiness should be a decision, a commitment, and habits. Life is not a competition but worth living by focusing on what you love. Everyone can change. Everyone has time to change. It is a matter of priorities.
I myself push my heart and brain further to see the light, only the light, the sun, the brightness, the beauty…
To envision the future, to feel the joy in advance, the happiness..
To consider only the positive side of everything, to pick up the learnings, and to trust every step in my journey..
“I am not what happened to me but I am what I choose to become”