Positive psychology is a scientific approach to studying human thoughts, feelings and behaviour with a focus on strengths, rather than weaknesses. Positive psychology aims to help people build on the good in their lives rather than repair the bad, and to help people thrive and flourish.

Professor Martin Seligman, one of the founders of positive psychology, developed a model of psychological well-being and happiness covering 5 core dimensions. The evidenced based model he developed is known as PERMA (Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning & Achievement), and can be applied to the workplace. Recent research by Australian-based Michelle McQuaid has added a new dimension H for Health to make the PERMAH model.

Positive emotions – Positive emotions boost our job performance. Positive emotions in the workplace are also contagious. People thrive when they are happier and experience less stress and fatigue. They are better able to remain optimistic, problem solve and work together in teams. 

Engagement – Look for opportunities to utilise your strengths. Be proactive. Have a conversation to discuss how you can apply your strengths. Managers should look at creating opportunities for team members to draw on their strengths and interests.

Relationships – Fostering positive relationships in the workplace has a number of benefits. It makes people feel connected and supported. Promote opportunities that allow collaboration and interaction.

Meaning – In the work environment, when there is a shared sense of purpose, people are more likely to feel satisfied with their job. Understanding how your role contributes to the vision and mission of the organisation you work for and the impact it has on helping others, provides a sense of meaning to the work you do.

Achievement – People thrive when they feel that they are succeeding, achieving goals, and bettering themselves. Set goals to work towards and when they achieve their goals, their success should be celebrated and acknowledged. 

Health – Are you building your foundation for your mental wellbeing? People thrive when they are eating well, moving regularly and sleeping deeply. Physical health can have a huge impact of mental wellbeing – and vice-versa.


If you are interested in learning more about Positive Psychology, please contact AccessEAP on 1800 818 728.