A couple of weeks ago I attended a lecture at the Sydney Opera House. Speaking was Professor Martin Seligman, the founding father of what has been termed Positive Psychology.


His research has led him to devise a model that he has termed the PERMA model for wellbeing.

P = Positive Emotions

Seligman cites the Losada Ratio. That is, to nurture our wellbeing, we need to experience a ratio of 3 positive emotions for every negative.

E = Engagement

You need to engage in activites that you enjoy and are good at. Moments of Flow or the feeling that you’re lost in the moment is a good indicator that you are engaged. Just feeling busy isn’t.

R = Relationships

In the age of Facebook, many of our young (and adults too!) are getting a distorted idea of what a relationship constitutes. We need to nurture strong, robust relationships in order to have a base of support.

M = Meaning

Seligman says humans are constantly searching for meaning. Whether you derive a sense of meaning and purpose through religion, your work, or just from helping others; meaning is a key element in enhancing your wellbeing.

A = Accomplishment

Seligman says humans need to know they are doing something. That they are improving or making a difference.

Many schools are tapping into the idea of Positive Education that looks to embed these ideas into the school curriculum.

How does your school address each of these five concepts?

Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, consultant, and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at http://danhaesler.com/ and tweets at @danhaesler