Wellbeing.

This is an actual exchange of messages in WhatsApp between a dear friend who has got a full head of hair but, who thinks that I enjoy life despite being blessed with just a friar’s fringe. Please click on the image for a larger resolution.

That exchange got me to suggest this topic for this week’s 2 on 1 Friday blog post when Shackman and I write posts on the same topic. Please do go over to his blog to see what he has to say about the topic.

“Well-being amounts to more than mere happiness, and involves a wide range of personal and social domains, new research suggests. Psychologists say that positive relationships and a sense of meaning and purpose in life are crucial to genuine well-being.”

~ British Psychological Society (BPS)

Whenever someone asks me if I am happy in my present status of a retired person, I inevitably request him to ask about my wellbeing rather than whether I am happy as happiness is only a small part of wellbeing. I inevitably add that I am flourishing or, that I am on top of the world or some such phrase. I came to the conclusion that I was more than just happy in my situation after I read Martin Seligman’s “Flourish”, which incidentally was gifted to me by a very dear friend who was closely monitoring my mental health when I was going through a particularly stressful period some years ago. Reading the book essentially pointed out to me that my stress was of a passing nature which was being handled well by me. Other than that particular aspect of my life then, my life otherwise was what could be easily called enviable by others.

Seligman’s PERMA is simply this.

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) – what we feel: pleasure, rapture, ecstasy, warmth, comfort, and the like. An entire life led successfully around this element, I call the “pleasant life.”

Engagement – is about flow: being one with the music, time stopping, and the loss of self-consciousness during an absorbing activity. I refer to a life lived with these aims as the “engaged life.”

Relationships – is about how well we are connected with our family, friends and society.

Meaning and purpose – Meaningful Life consists in belonging to and serving something that you believe is bigger than the self, and humanity creates all the positive institutions to allow this: religion, political party, being Green, the Boy Scouts, or the family.

Accomplishment – is the way of reflecting on the attempts of doing something, and the degree in which it provides a positive sense of accomplishment or achievement.

No one element defines well-being, but each contributes to it.

I believe that I am a walking proof for someone who is flourishing as, in all the five elements, I will score high.