EP003 The PERMA Model of Wellbeing

Peak | The Psychology of Performance

Jun 27 2020 • 16 mins

Read more about The PERMA Model; humanperformance.ie/what-is-resilience In the late 1960s, the father of positive psychology Martin Seligman and his research associate, Steven Maier, were part of a team that discovered the phenomena “learned helplessness." They found that dogs, rats, and mice, when subjected to mild electric shock over which they had no control, would learn to accept it, making no attempt to escape. It was later shown that human beings act the same way. They learn to be helpless. Over many years of research, Seligman and colleagues discovered that about 30% of subjects never become helpless. The reason why, he says, is optimism. Seligman subsequently developed a means to assess responses as either optimistic or pessimistic. They discovered that people who refuse give up, have the habit of seeing setbacks as temporary and changeable. In other words, they feel they can do something about it. The researchers realised they could, as Seligman said, “immunise people against learned helplessness, against depression and anxiety, and against giving up after failure by teaching them to think like optimists.” Over his years of research, Seligman found that the most satisfied, contented people were those who had discovered and exploited their unique combination of what he called “signature strengths,” such as humanity, temperance and persistence and developed the PERMA model of psychological wellbeing. Support my work