In learning more about Positive Psychology, the term PERMA was shared as an easy way to think about 5 key aspects that can aid in helping put Positive Psychology into practice.
Of these 5 PERMA aspects (listed below), I’ve talked about 4 in recent blog posts. The last one, relationships, is also part of the #5 Positive Practice – Social Connections: be intentional with social bonding & friendships (link here to the list of 11 practices).
PERMA stands for:
- Positive Emotion – A recent blog post (link here) covered how to cultivate positive emotions. To increase “P”, do things that make you happy and do a daily gratitude listing.
- Engagement & Flow – Know what absorbs & inspires you! Be present in the activities you enjoy. This was linked to the practice of activating your character strengths (link here to my post) to find your state of flow. To increase “E”, pursue things of interest and consider what skill(s) to develop.
- Relationships – connect, listen, and share for a sense of belonging and feeling loved and supported. To increase “R”, plan intentional connections, do active listening, and engage in meaningful conversations.
- Meaning & Purpose – Having a sense of purpose in life was also linked to the practice of activating your character strengths and goal setting (link here again to my post). To increase “M”, do volunteer activities, give back, and share knowledge.
- Achievement & Accomplishment – Having goals, working towards goals, and achieving goals was linked to the practice of goal setting (link here again). To increase “A”, track and celebrate your achievements.
Some interesting “Self -Measurements” of PERMA is to think about:
- How often feelings of joyfulness versus feelings of anxiety
- How often feel lonely, sad, angry versus how often feel loved, content
- Progress towards goals and achievement of goals (even if just check-lists)
- Having an interest in things/activities you are doing
- Absorption in what you are doing (feelings of flow)
- Being in good to excellent health – physically, mentally
- Leading a meaningful life; having a sense of life direction
- Having a support structure and feeling satisfied with relationships
- Can handle your responsibilities.
What’s been missing so far in the series of blogs I’ve written? Best practices for Relationships & Connection! I realized this and then had the serendipity to see the latest Chopra Meditation Series (Nov/Dec 2020) on Creating Peace & Power of Connection. Here are a few quick notes from that series:
- Acknowledge that there are different kinds of relationships (friends, family, romantic/intimate, casual) as well as different lengths (short-term or long-term). It is natural to be regularly beginning & ending relationships.
- Different relationships will fulfill different needs – no one relationship can do it all. Need to understand which relationship is filling which of your needs: to be loved, understood, appreciated, supported, inspired. Which relationships are about sharing experiences, humor, or interests? Who is fulfilling a role to be a confidant, a devil’s advocate, an adventure buddy, a creative partner, a mentor, or even a mentee? Strong relationships do have a giving & receiving balance.
- Relationships are also about, “who am I” and “where do I fit and feel belonging”. They provide opportunities for deep meaningful conversation, savoring ordinary moments, and having traditions/rituals.
- Relationships take regular connection; they need attention to keep them alive. They need attentive listening, expressions of appreciation, respect, non-judgment, and forgiveness. What you say and do communicate, “you matter”.
- Disconnection in a relationship leads to loss of trust, resentment, and frustration. It happens when you are not communicating enough, have missed expectations, or unexpressed resentment. You need to determine if you want a disconnected relationship to be healed, and then change yourself to reconnect and resolve the conflict – real listening, non judgment, respect other perspective, and finding a compromise/common interest.
In recent Positive Psychology course, it was (again) pointed out that ‘Time spent in meaningful conversation with others” is correlated to higher wellbeing! Oh, I am missing conversation (and dinners out) during this pandemic.
And then my random reading (site forgotten, but serendipity again) had ideas on Time Together, a relationship 101. Here are a few easy ones to consider.
- Eat dinner together and have a (hopefully meaningful) conversation.
- Go to bed at same time – it symbolizes special union.
- Cuddle daily – the skin-to-skin contact releases oxytocin, which helps bond & fosters affection & intimacy.
- Have a date night – research shows it improves relationship satisfaction and sexual satisfaction and lowers divorce.
- For the holidays create couple rituals/traditions to mark those occasions.
- Celebrate the little things – celebrate your first date, the date you got engaged, and your wedding, but also celebrate little moments, like the achievement of a personal goal.
These are wonderful reminders of how to keep my most important relationship strong!
And finally, reading a bit on my 2021 horoscope for the year pointed out a theme for me of committed partnership, quality of interactions, and meaningful deep communication. Seems to me the Universe it telling me to focus on relationships, hmm?
So, what am I doing as far as Relationships in 2021 based on this learning? These are two of the items on my 21 for 2021 (and my winter action plan, too).
- Continue regular planning of connections (face-to-face IRL and Zoom) and attempting to boost the “meaningfulness” of some of those conversations.
- Intentionally planning more dates (day trips, dinner conversations, activities together) with hubby. We’ve had very few these past 9 months because of the pandemic.
Thinking about PERMA, is there an area you would like to personally focus on this New Year?
Picture Credit: me – Last sunrise of 2020