WELL-BEING CHECK: Pinpointing Your Happiness State
April 18, 20203 min read
With everything that's been going on the past few weeks, it's all too easy to get overwhelmed and forget to mind your own mental and emotional state. Checking in with yourself and how you’re doing is especially important at a time like this — but when you’re in the thick of things, it’s easier said than done.
Fortunately, there's a helpful tool available that may just come in handy: The PERMA Profiler, known as “a validated, 23-question survey that measures five pillars of well-being known as PERMA: Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment.” (PERMA Profiler, Yale Survey Qualtrics)
The PERMA Model was developed by Martin Seligman, a key figure in positive psychology. It is a framework of psychological well-being and happiness with five dimensions: Positive emotion, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, and Accomplishment.
It's believed that by knowing where they stand in these dimensions, people can work towards a more meaningful, happy, and fulfilled life. Below are the aforementioned dimensions in greater detail:
P and N = Positive and Negative emotions
Emotions are one of the strongest indicators of our well-being. Each person experiences a wide range of emotions. While often classified into ‘positive’ and ‘negative’, emotions are instinctive and may be more appropriately appreciated “as-is” instead of positive/negative.
For the purpose of the PERMA Profiler, ‘positive’ emotions refers to “general tendencies toward feeling contentment and joy.” While, ‘negative’ emotion refers to “tendencies toward feeling, sad, anxious, and angry.” (P. Kern, 2015)
E = Engagement
Have you been so into what you’re doing and the world around you fades away? This is Engagement.
It’s as if everything is in sync. Deep thinking, innovative creating and fully participating are easy and enjoyable. Engagement is also also referred to as “flow.”
R = Relationships
The people in our lives and the meaningful connections we have with them are an integral part of our well-being. Whether you have extroverted or introverted tendencies, cultivating and maintaining meaningful relationships are important.
It is through our Relationships that we feel love, support and value of others. This is true especially in times of difficulty. Our positive relationships with family, friends, peers and loved ones contribute to our feeling of belonging and worth.
M = Meaning
“Why do you wake up every morning?” The answer to this question points to our sense of purpose in life, our Meaning. This gives us direction and a sense of connecting to something greater than ourselves. Many people find meaning in faith and spirituality, social-environmental action or in creative expression.
Whatever your personal purpose is, your awareness and pursuit of it contributes to your well-being.
A = Accomplishment
Achieving our goals and the mastery we gain in the process makes us feel good about ourselves. Whether goals are public such as competing for an award or personal such as exercising daily, they are important in enabling us to take the next step forward.
Practicing goal design like SMART: Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound sets us up for success. It is a good way to achieving our goals and give us a sense of satisfaction. Without such practices, our goals may be too out there, thus self-sabotaging our goal achievement.
APPRECIATING YOUR RESULTS
The Yale University PERMA Profiler your took earlier will give you a result ranging from 0-10. Generally, the higher the number, the more well-being is experienced from a particular dimension.
According to Peggy Kern, a professor of Positive Psychology at the University of Melbourne, here’s one way to assess results:
Very high functioning = 9 and above (0 to 1 for negative emotion)
High functioning = 8-8.9 (1.1 to 3 for negative emotion)
Normal functioning = 6.5 to 7.9 (3 to 5 for negative emotion)
Sub-optimal functioning = 5 to 6.4 (5.1 to 6.5 for negative emotion)
Languishing = below 5 (above 6.5 for negative emotion)
She reminds us that assessment results should be seen as a starting point for self-reflection. It should not be a goal to hit 10. Depending on what’s going on with your life at that moment, higher or lower well-being may be normal.
More important is that if you’re happy with your life and satisfied with the results, then stay the course. Do the things that make you happy. If there are things you feel could be better, the assessment, your results, and the questions asked could help you pinpoint specific areas for improvement.