I frequently quote Dr Martin Seligman as his work is so closely aligned with that of wellness coaches, even though we approach our clients’ well being often from a physical perspective. We are all trying to help them achieve the same thing – ultimately life satisfaction.
If a client of ours managed to regain physical health, or achieve great fitness, although this would be a sign of progress, we would not feel that our real work was over if that person was dissatisfied with their life. So we cross from physical to mental to emotional all the time which often makes reflection on the new definition that Seligman has developed for Well being, or shall we say optional “flourishing”. He refers to the five constituents of well being: positive emotion, engagement, positive relationships, meaning and accomplishment/achievement (PERMA). Each one, he says, can be increased and improved on; each one is measurable and all can be taught.
PERMA is the acronym that is used. I would like to respectfully propose that this acronym be extended to PERMAP with the P representing the physical dimension. Now this is not to say that everyone needs to be in perfect health to be happy. This would be unrealistic. It is more about the need to focus on improving our health (and fitness) to be the best it can be under our given circumstances so that our energy is optimised. This would be more representative of what Wellness Coaches set out to support their clients in attaining. And at the same time, knowing the five constituents that Seligman has proposed are equally as important.
Am I perhaps stepping out of line and confusing the issue? We’d love to hear anyone else’s view.