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PERMA-V Framework

Highlights from Expert Series

The following article shares highlights and insights from one of our Expert Series events, which are exclusive for Young Scholars and their parents. 

Life can get crazy sometimes. It could be due to busy schedules, high demands, health issues, or maybe…a pandemic. When times are tough, it is helpful to remind ourselves to focus on what is in our control. A great place to focus on is on the well-being of our family. Our family is the best support we could have to help us get through anything, and there is nothing more valuable than our family being happy and healthy.

The PERMA-V model can be a useful tool when creating well-being strategies. This science-based model stems from positive psychology, and is an acronym that consists of six important building blocks: Positivity, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Achievement, and Vitality.

    • Positivity: regularly experiencing positive emotions, which are among many components that make up happiness and well-being
    • Engagement: becoming so absorbed in an enjoyable task/activity that we completely lose sense of time; experiencing total engagement, or flow
    • Relationships: having/nurturing high quality relationships
    • Meaning: doing something meaningful that extends beyond ourselves
    • Achievement: having a sense of accomplishment
    • Vitality: taking good care of our body and mind

Implementing strategies following this model can help increase your family’s overall well-being. Here are some ideas to try:


  • Prioritize positivity daily: notice the little things every day. Point them out and share with each other.
  • Gratitude ping pong: choose a “talking object” (ball, stick, spoon, etc.). The first person holds the object, shares with the group one thing they are grateful for, then passes it to the next person. The second person shares what they are grateful for, then passes it to the next person.  Keep going around for 5-7 minutes, then discuss what the experience was like.
  • Practice growth mindset: we can accomplish our goals with work and dedication. Change self-talk from “I’m not good at…” to “I’m working on…” or “I can’t do it YET”. Help each other re-phrase.
  • Savor the good: when something good happens, take 10 seconds to just savor it.
  • Reframe negative thoughts.
  • Daily journal: 3 good things that happened today.


  • Find activities that your family can be totally engaged in, that bring flow (playing a game together, putting together a puzzle, playing a sport, making music, etc.).
  • Create opportunities for engagement by being fully present and mindful. Use the following strategies:
    • Calming and focusing strategies:
      • Count backwards from 100 by 7
      • Name animals that start with letters of the alphabet
    • Aware of the senses: take a pause and ask yourself, “what do I hear, see, smell, taste, and feel?”
    • Breathing exercises:
      • 5:5:5 breathing: inhale for a count of 5, exhale for a count of 5, and doing this 5 times.
      • Square breathing: inhale for 4, hold for 4, exhale for 4, and hold for 4.
      • Vacuum breathing: imagine that the inhale pulls the negative thoughts or tension in your body, and the exhale releases it out of your body into the air where it evaporates.


  • Use affirmations to replace negative self-talk. When writing affirmations, use positive, present tense words that resonate with you. Be specific. Make them personal to you. Place where you can see them every day. Support each other with affirmations.
  • Learn about the 5 Love Languages Understand each family member’s love language and how to make them feel loved.
  • Unplug: put all tech devices away and purposefully engage as a family. Engage in meaningful conversations or play a game together.
  • Hugs: create greater trust, empathy, and overall well-being.


  • Find your big P and little p: what are you doing to find purpose that is outside of yourself and makes an impact on the world (big P) that also puts your strengths/skills into practice (little p)? How can you do this as a family?
  • Sameness to awe: get out of the rut of sameness by doing something different. Take a scenic path home, watch the sun set/rise, watch the clouds roll by, etc. Take in the goodness.


  • Create a wants list: what are things you want for yourself right now?
  • Create a bucket list: what do you want to experience before you “kick the bucket”?
  • Complete a Vision for Life Areas: what is your vision for your life in 1, 5, and 10 years out into the future?
  • Complete a Wheel of Life:
  • Set SMART goals (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Time-bound)
  • Do these activities as a family to create common goals.


  • Get enough sleep. There are so many benefits of good sleep. Develop healthy pre-sleep routines.
  • Move your body (exercise, dance, walk your dog, swim, hike, ride your bike, etc.) Even as little as 10 minutes of activity a day can help reduce stress, improve brain function, give you a burst of energy, and help you feel happier.
  • Stay hydrated. Calculate how much water you need: determine your weight in pounds; divide by 2; drink that number in ounces each day.
  • Practice proper nutrition. Food is fuel for your body. Cook as a family.

If this seems overwhelming, try choosing one strategy to implement. Once your family is comfortable, then try adding additional strategies.

For Additional Resources:

Authored by: Nuntiya Smith CAPP, APPC
Bio: Nuntiya Smith is a certified Positive Psychology Practitioner/Coach who has worked at the Davidson Institute for 17 years as a Family Consultant and Young Scholar Ambassador Program Manager.


Josh Green

The PERMA-V model is a well-rounded approach to enhancing well-being, covering emotional, physical, and relational aspects of life. It's interesting to see how each component can be practically applied in a family setting. Incorporating the wheel of life alongside the PERMA-V strategies could offer a more comprehensive view of where the gaps are in your overall well-being and help prioritize which PERMA-V elements need more focus. You may find more info about wheel of life assessment

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