Positive relationships with our friends, family and colleagues are an integral element of wellbeing. As social beings we need to connect, feel affection, friendship and love but if relationships really are so essential to wellbeing how can we nurture them?
The PERMA model
The PERMA model comes from the work of psychologist Martin Seligman, often referred to as the founder of positive psychology. PERMA refers to the five elements necessary to create a fulfilling, happy and meaningful life, they are:
P = Positivity
E = Engagement
R = Relationships
M = Meaning
A = Accomplishment
In this series of blogs we’ll take a look at the evidence for element contribution to wellbeing and examine how to strengthen and develop each part of the PERMA model for a fulfilling life.
Relationships in the PERMA model refer to all of the relationships that you have, from your relationship with your boss (did you know a bad relationship with your boss can put you at 25% more risk of experiencing heart disease?) to the relationships you have with friends and family, they all have an impact on wellbeing.
Relationships – the research
There is a huge body of research examining the impact of relationships on wellbeing, here are just some of the findings:
- Happier and healthier. People with close social relationships are healthier and more optimistic about the future
- Successful ageing. Older people who participate in social activities have a more positive experience of ageing.
- Supporting recovery from mental illness. People experiencing mental ill health cite the support of family and friends as being the most important factor in their recovery.
- Friendships at work = increased performance. When friendships are formed in the workplace this has a positive impact on performance.
3 ways to develop relationships
- Take an interest. Make an effort to find out more about colleagues and acquaintances, showing an interest in the lives of others helps to build rapport and develop friendships.
- Keep connections active. Don’t let a busy schedule get in the way of maintaining friendships. Actively carve out time to maintain connections with existing friends and develop new relationships.
- Commit to meeting new people. With more of us working from home or hot design in the workplace it’s even more important to make an effort to develop new friendships. Try joining a class or group that meets regularly, spending time with people who have similar interests is a great opportunity to develop new friendships.
Discover more by watching Martin Seligman discuss his model for wellbeing: