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The PERMA model was created by Professor Martin Seligman to sum up the five elements that Positive Psychology research suggests are essential to human wellbeing. Ravenswood has adopted a sixth element, Positive Health, as every other PERMA element is underpinned by physical wellbeing.
The ability to view the past, present and future with a positive perspective can result in better health, a more creative and productive work performance and improved relationships. When we boost our positive emotions, we increase our enjoyment of everyday tasks and are more likely to persevere and find creative solutions to problems. We are also less likely to develop depression.
We thrive when we are absorbed in what we are doing. We are in flow when we feel time stop and lose ourselves in a situation, task or project. Our interests might be unique to us but we share the need to fulfil our individual potential by engaging in activities that absorb and inspire us. Students who identify their own key strengths gain confidence from consciously engaging in activities that make them feel productive and valuable.
Human beings are social creatures and require good relationships to achieve wellbeing. Like laughter, happiness is contagious and positive relationships lead to shared positive experiences, which in turn increases the number of positive relationships in our lives. Meanwhile, strong networks provide us with support in difficult times and enable us to maintain perspective and balance.
Meaning comes from serving a cause bigger than ourselves and is an important component in attaining wellbeing. Once we have identified what matters most to us, we can start to see a deeper purpose or mission in the work we do and apply our strengths in service of this mission. Connecting to something larger than ourselves can also protect us against depression.
Establishing goals and striving to accomplish them results in a self-belief that is important for self-esteem and wellbeing. This in turn helps to build resilience in the face of challenges and makes us more likely to work harder and achieve more the next time.
Physical and mental health are intertwined and the teaching of healthy lifestyles and attitudes is essential for young people, particularly during the adolescent years. Ravenswood’s Positive Education programs will have a focus on the development of physical heath, mindfulness and self-regulation.