Moving away from clinical psychology's traditional focus on illness and relieving suffering, positive psychology invites us to flourish. It may be easier than you think.
PERMA is the handy acronym for the five facets of flourishing identified by Martin Seligman. PERMA refers to a life in which we experience positive emotion through engagement in activities and relationships that are meaningful and give us a sense of accomplishment.
Flourishing, says Corey Keyes, is having a sense of well-being and satisfaction with one's life, which includes a sense of mastery, autonomy and ongoing personal growth.
The focus for Jeffrey Rubin, is on self-care and intimacy.
Flourishing is the feeling that we are moving forward in our lives in a positive, meaningful, engaged way. The real question is how we get there. My suggestions for moving yourself into a flourishing state:
1. Seek new challenges. Seek more and keep seeking.
2. Make a contribution somewhere in the world. Make another. And another.
3. Be your best in relationships and get close to people. Get closer to more people.
4. Do what you love. Do more of it. Find more things you love.
5. Decide what your life purpose is and pursue it. Decide if your purpose changes or expands, and if it does, pursue that.
6. Discover what has meaning for you and bring it into your life. Bring more meaningful things into your life, and continue to find new meaning.
7. Expand your inner space by cultivating mindfulness, appreciating beauty, reflecting quietly or doing whatever works for you. Expand in new ways and go further.
8. Practice self-care, self-compassion and compassion for others. Practice more deeply and more inclusively.
It's not selfish to pursue these goals as long as you're not hurting anyone and are taking good care with the important people in your life. You can't do everything on the list all at once, but you're probably already doing some of it. You can make small changes that enhance flourishing. It doesn't require a lot of resources.
Choose to work on things that are meaningful to you, that you believe you can accomplish. That way you'll keep at. Take a baby step today and live the good life.