What is Wellbeing and PERMA?


This resource page is dedicated to helping you and your community understand and explore what is wellbeing, and the PERMA model of wellbeing.


Understanding Wellbeing


The term wellbeing can be understood as the complex combination of a person’s physical, mental, emotional and social health life domains. It is strongly linked to happiness and life satisfaction. In short, wellbeing could be described as how you feel about yourself and your life. At LBI, we support individuals and communities to come up with a definition of wellbeing that is meaningful to them.

Importantly, this definition of wellbeing does not mean the absence of physical or mental disease. In other words, it is possible to be diagnosed with a mental illness (e.g., anxiety/depression), and still report high levels of wellbeing.

Within this definition of wellbeing, we see that there is an interdependent or symbiotic relationship between “individual” and “community” wellbeing. In other words, an individual’s wellbeing cannot be seen outside of the community they live within (and vice versa).

This point is so important for Aboriginal and First Nations people. It is imperative that Aboriginal understandings of social and emotional wellbeing are captured, within this strong linked to their connection to community and culture.


Thriving versus Surviving Continuum

The IMPACT Program honours the personal, cultural and contextual lens we need to bring to understanding wellbeing. To support the intent of the program, it draws upon the continuum of “surviving” versus “thriving”. A key intent of the program is to building “thriving” outcomes for both individuals and communities. It acknowledges however that both “thriving” and “surviving” are states, which are fluid in nature, and may change on a daily to weekly basis. 

The IMPACT Program asks individuals and communities to define these words in their own language, but offers these guiding starting definitions. 

  • Surviving – living day-by-day, not connected to meaning and purpose, less positive emotional states, increased feelings of being overwhelmed and less feelings of contentment and life satisfaction. 
  • Thriving – increased feelings of contentment and life satisfaction, connected to meaning and purpose, goals and actions linked to values. 
Thriving Versus Surviving


Across our touchpoints with many caregivers, educators, leaders, practitioners and community members, we hear that people are looking for more practical ways to make sense of wellbeing. The IMPACT Program introduces the PERMA model as a practical model of wellbeing. It can be readily understood and applied by children, families and adults. 

It has been developed by Martin Seligman, who is a pioneer in positive psychology. For further details, we encourage you to read the book Flourish

The model indicates that you will experience higher levels of wellbeing when you bring an intent to five key areas in your life: 

  • Positive emotions – fun, joy, play, curiosity etc.
  • Engagement – doing activities where you become immersed, including loosing track of time. 
  • Relationships – having positive nurturing relationships in your life.
  • Meaning – doing things which give you a sense of personal meaning.
  • Accomplishment – doing things where there is an endpoint and a sense of accomplishment.

The resources below provide you additional content and support to explore the PERMA model in more detail. 

PERMA Practical Model of Wellbeing

Exploring Wellbeing and PERMA

IMPACT Coaches have access to a range of IMPACT modules and resources to explore together within their communities. Trauma-Informed Coaching Module 1: What is Wellbeing and PERMA is open to the public. The module includes a video resource, and a factsheet on the PERMA model. They are provided below for your exploration. 

Deepening Our Understanding of PERMA

Interested in Further Information

Speak to Your Local IMPACT Coach

Your local IMPACT Coach can provide you access to additional resources, factsheets and videos on:

IMPACT Coaches can click above links and then log-in to access resource and module content. 


Get in Contact With Us

We offer partner communities brief workshops and coaching sessions on understanding both wellbeing and PERMA.