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5 Building Blocks for a Sober Life of Fulfillment

What does this brand new year hold in store for you? Are you ready to meet its challenges?

As you work to establish a healthy life in recovery, change can feel intimidating. You want to set healthy goals and take positive steps forward in your new life, but where do you start?

To get some focus and direction, try zoning in on PERMA. These five pillars create a model of wellbeing that can guide your efforts for a healthy, sober lifestyle.

Building a Foundation for a Better You

Established in his book, Flourish, Professor Martin Seligman’s PERMA model outlines the following basic building blocks of wellbeing. He suggests they form the permanent foundation for a life of fulfillment.

Let’s dig in…

  • Positive emotions: How happy are you on a daily basis? Life satisfaction, or contentment, has a huge impact on your wellbeing. To increase positive emotions, Seligman suggests this simple tip: Before you go to bed each night, write down three things that went well that day.
  • Engagement: What are your greatest strengths? Use these to engage with life. Seligman tells us that when we use our highest strengths to meet the challenges that come our way, we achieve “flow,” or positive engagement with life. For example, if your highest strength is humor or playfulness, use this trait in developing a way to cope with a difficult part of your day.
  • Relationships: How can you make your relationships better? According to Seligman, you should focus on how you celebrate with others. Often, we focus on how we argue, so we attempt to fight less or “fight fair.” Instead, make an effort to celebrate better. Rather than tell your spouse you are happy for them about their promotion, praise them about something specific they did to earn it, then ask for details about the experience. Let them share with you the conversation they had with their boss. Show interest and fully celebrate the experience with them.
  • Meaning: This pillar involves belonging to and serving something you believe is bigger than you are. What do you feel is your purpose in life? Where are you on your spiritual journey? Finding meaning or purpose beyond yourself is a huge part of wellbeing.
  • Accomplishment: Seligman and others have discovered that accomplished people are not necessarily the smartest people (highest IQ). The key factor in accomplishment is grit. Do you have the courage and resolve to see things through? Develop these and you’ll see accomplishments in your life that create wellbeing.
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