Understanding the fundamentals of wellbeing with the PERMA-V model

Ilia Lindsay, Registered Psychologist, Komodo Psychology Lead


PERMA V: A Holistic Model for Wellbeing in Schools


Student wellbeing has rightly become a crucial priority for educators and parents alike. Positive psychology, a branch of psychology that focuses on fostering wellbeing and happiness, has paved the way for various strength-based models, one of which is PERMA V. This framework was created to help people flourish in their lives by emphasizing five core elements: Positive Emotions, Engagement, Relationships, Meaning, Accomplishment, and Vitality. 

The PERMA model was developed by Psychologist Dr Martin Seligman in 2012, and suggests five building blocks of wellbeing that contribute to human flourishing. Emiliya Zhivotovskaya added the “V” building block thus creating the updated PERMA V model for wellbeing.  By addressing positive emotions, engagement, relationships, meaning, accomplishment, and vitality, educators and parents can foster a positive learning and living environment that nurtures the holistic development of young people. Through various activities, we can facilitate the growth of well-rounded individuals who are equipped with resilience, coping skills, and a sense of purpose, setting them on a path towards a flourishing future.

Positive Emotions: This is all about experiencing feelings of joy, happiness, and gratitude. Encouraging students to engage in activities that bring joy, fostering a positive and uplifting classroom atmosphere.

Home and classroom ideas: 

  • Start a gratitude journal 
  • Practice positive self-talk
  • Concentrate on people who bring you joy
  • Make time for activities that “fill your cup”

Engagement: Engaging students in activities that capture their interest and challenge them can lead to a sense of fulfilment and growth. Providing opportunities for hands-on learning, creative projects, and meaningful discussions can enhance their engagement in the learning process and allow them to explore skills and talents. 

Home and classroom ideas: 

  • Learn something new
  • Practice mindfulness for present-moment focus 
  • Make time to practice your passions
  • Ask questions
  • Prioritize psychological safety 

Relationships: Positive relationships are crucial in the classroom environment. Building a supportive and inclusive community where students feel connected and valued can have a significant impact on their well-being and academic success. This includes positive relationships with family, friends, and peers. Encouraging kindness and empathy can help students build strong and supportive connections with others.

Home and classroom ideas: 

  • Stay connected with your friends
  • Spend time with family
  • Participate in social activities/outings
  • Peer mentor/peer support systems 
  • Team building exercises

Meaning: Helping students find meaning and purpose in their learning can make a big difference. Relating classroom topics to real-life situations, encouraging reflection on the relevance of their studies, and demonstrating how their learning can contribute to a better world can foster a sense of purpose. This can also involve exploring students' passions, interests, and values, and helping them to understand how their actions can make a positive impact.

Home and classroom ideas: 

  • Do things that give you purpose (volunteer, trusted friend/family member) 
  • Connect with something bigger than yourself (spiritually, passions, work/education)
  • Express yourself through creativity
  • Explore your values and how these align or relate to future goals 

Accomplishment: Recognizing and celebrating students' achievements, no matter how small, can boost their confidence and motivation. Setting achievable goals and providing constructive feedback can encourage them to strive for success. A sense of achievement builds confidence and motivation and is known to be closely linked to higher levels of self-esteem. 

Home and classroom ideas: 

  • Set SMART goals for the week/month/term 
  • Recognize your successes, what are you doing well? (list 2 of them right now)
  • Reflect on ways you have changed/developed/improved

Vitality: This aspect focuses on students' physical and mental well-being. Encouraging: regular physical activity, varied nutrition and regular food intake, hydration, physical health awareness and management,  incorporating mindfulness exercises, and promoting a balanced approach to studies and extracurricular activities are all ways to support students overall vitality.

Home and classroom ideas: 

  • Get daily exercise
  • Spend time in nature
  • Set a consistent sleep routine
  • Eat healthily and hydrate
  • Prioritize self-care 

Why use PERMA V in schools?

Childhood and adolescence are critical periods for identity formation and personal growth (both physically, cognitively and socio-emotionally). PERMA V addresses various dimensions of wellbeing, ensuring a more comprehensive and balanced approach to development. Research repeatedly shows that when students feel happier, engaged, and connected, they are more likely to excel academically and socially. By weaving in these positive wellbeing habits and skills during a young person's school journey, schools can contribute to the long-term well-being and happiness of their students, setting them on a path to lead fulfilling lives.

As a teacher, incorporating PERMA V into your classroom practices can create a positive and nurturing learning environment. By understanding and integrating these elements into your teaching strategies, you can help your students flourish academically, emotionally, and socially. We know that each student is unique, so being attentive to their individual needs and interests is key to effectively applying the PERMA V model in your classroom. We know teachers continue to have more roles and responsibilities assigned to them despite no extra time in the day, however, at Komodo we encourage our schools to find the time to make student wellbeing a priority. We know from the journeys of our Komodo schools as well as through research that fostering student wellbeing can lead to more engaged and successful learners who are better equipped to face life's challenges with resilience and positivity. Time given to wellbeing now comes back to you as an investment in a brighter and more fulfilling future for both the students and the entire school community. As students flourish and develop essential life skills, the benefits ripple throughout the school. 

Download our FREE PERMA-V resource to continue to inform your positive classroom psychology strategies:

How does Komodo support PERMA V?

  • PERMA V helps people identify areas that contribute to their wellbeing, and areas that may need support. Our platform promotes a reflective approach to wellbeing where students can identify their wellbeing fluctuations and factors which may impact them, to make beneficial changes. 
  • Our question library measures all areas of PERMA V, enabling schools to create holistic surveys that cover each “building block” of the model. 
  • Our website provides access to helpful information and strategies/tips to improve different aspects of wellbeing and gain further understanding of factors that influence wellbeing. 
  • Our Komodo Community allows Komodo schools to connect and explore how PERMA V is being used in schools across the globe and provides insights and psychoeducation on the different areas of wellbeing.


If you would like to learn more about how Komodo can support your schools PERMA V model click here for a demo call




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Seligman, M. E., Steen, T. A., Park, N., & Peterson, C. (2005). Positive psychology progress: Empirical validation of interventions. American Psychologist, 60(5), 410-421.

Waters, L. (2011). A review of school-based positive psychology interventions. The Australian Educational and Developmental Psychologist, 28(2), 75-90.

Norrish, J. M., Williams, P., O'Connor, M., & Robinson, J. (2013). An applied framework for positive education. International Journal of Wellbeing, 3(2), 147-161.

Shoshani, A., & Steinmetz, S. (2014). Positive psychology at school: A school-based intervention to promote adolescents' mental health and well-being. Journal of Happiness Studies, 15(6), 1289-1311.