Townsville, Queensland 2012

SUMMARY OF WELL-BEING THEORY: “Here then is well-being theory: well-being is a construct; and well-being, not happiness, is the topic of positive psychology. Well-being has five measurable elements (PERMA) that count toward it: Positive emotion (of which happiness and life satisfaction are all aspects) Engagement, Relationships, Meaning and Achievement. No one element defines well-being, but each contributes to it.”  Source: Seligman, Martin (2011-05-02). Flourish (p. 24). Random House Australia. Kindle Edition. asn.

The information above is a cut and paste from Seligman’s latest book. Is it a formula for the good life? It does seem to be a balanced and considered theory. To put it into my own language, I believe I experience well-being when: 1. I experience positive emotion i.e.  feel happy and am reasonably satisfied with my life as it is. 2. I am engaged or connected in some way to the society that I live in. 3. I have at least some positive relationships – I am not alone or lonely. 4. My life seems to have a sense of meaning in the context of the world I live in. 5. I feel that I sometimes achieve positive outcomes in my daily activities.

I cannot be sure that my interpretation of Seligman’s theory is correct but I think I might be on the right track. When I look at the five elements, the one I struggle with most is finding meaning in my life. I am, by nature, a bit of a dreamer and often find myself thinking about the meaning or motivation behind aspects of my life. Some people get by without wondering WHY and I do envy them.

I am interested in hearing your thoughts on the Theory of Well-Being as described by Seligman. He has done a significant amount of work with the US Military plus the Education sector. He makes the point that our psychological well-being is at least as important as our physical well-being. I certainly agree with that point of view. What do you think?