Nord Anglia Education
Nord Anglia
24 February, 2023

PERMAH : Understanding the PERMAH Framework

Permah framework
Student in Cap and Gown graphic
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Mr Robert Alexander, BSKL's Assistant Head of Secondary (Student Development & Community Engagement) tells us about cultivating personal wellbeing with positive psychology using PERMAH.

Professor Martin Seligman, one of the world’s leading researchers in positive psychology, suggested that we can cultivate personal wellbeing by ensuring the presence in our lives of PERMAH.


What does PERMAH stand for?

  • Positive emotions
  • Positive engagement
  • Positive relationships
  • Positive meaning
  • Positive accomplishment
  • Positive health


Over the next three weeks, I will focus on each of these six key areas in more detail and provide some simple advice on how we can include these different PERMAH strands in our everyday life to support our own personal positive wellbeing.


Positive Emotions

Positive emotions is not simply about the pursuit of ‘happiness’ - it encompasses a whole range of positive emotions which include hope, interest, joy, love, compassion, pride, amusement and gratitude. When we have an opportunity to integrate positive emotions into our daily life, it leads to improvement in our thinking patterns and can reduce the effect of negative emotions. By increasing our positive emotions, we can improve our overall wellbeing by building the intellectual, psychological and social resources to build our levels of resilience and create the conditions to thrive and flourish.


How can we build positive emotions?

  • Spend time with people we care about
  • Do activities that we enjoy (hobbies)
  • Listen to uplifting or inspirational music
  • Reflect on things we are grateful for and what is going well in our life


Positive Engagement

Have you ever found yourself reading a book which you have been totally immersed in? When you have forgotten about everything else and found yourself ‘in the zone’? When time just seems to fly by? Have you had a similar experience whilst writing, participating in sport, playing a musical instrument or engaged in a hobby? If so, you have experienced ‘positive engagement’ or ‘flow’ - the loss of self-consciousness and complete absorption in an activity. In other words, you are living in the present moment and focused entirely on the task at hand.


How can we build positive emotions?

  • Participate in activities that we really love, where we lose track of time when we do them.
  • Practice living in the moment, even during our daily activities or mundane tasks.
  • Spend time in nature, watching, listening, and observing what happens around us.