Volume 5, Article 8

Volume 5, Article 8

Positive Psychology Practices during a Pandemic: Interventions to REFRAME Well-being Erin M. Lefdahl-Davis, David Stefan, Levi Huffman, and Allie Alayan

Citation: Lefdahl-Davis, E. M., Stefan, D., Huffman, L., & Alayan, A. (2021). ‘Positive Psychology practices during a Pandemic: Interventions to REFRAME well-being.’ European Journal of Applied Positive Psychology, 5, 8, 1-13. https://www.nationalwellbeingservice.org/volumes/volume-5-2021/volume-5-article-8/

Processing dates: Submitted: 24th August 2020; Resubmitted: 1st March 2021; Accepted: 13th April 2021; Published: 10th August 2021

Volume 5, Article 8

Background/Aims/Objectives: In this mixed-methods research, we examined several psychology practices for their importance, usefulness, and potential to impact overall well-being during a worldwide pandemic (COVID-19). Participants were given a choice to practise Resilience, Empathy, Flow, Relationships, Appreciation, Meaning, or  Embodiment; interventions symbolized by the word REFRAME.
Methods/Methodology: A survey method was utilized to collect quantitative and qualitative data on the perceived impact of specific positive psychology interventions practised by participants during quarantine (COVID-19). The survey was distributed to students, staff, and faculty of a medium-sized university in the United States. 30 participants chose a particular REFRAME intervention to practise daily for several weeks during spring 2020, during a time of fairly strict stay-at-home orders due to the COVID-19 worldwide pandemic.
Results: Participants reported a significant impact from all of the REFRAME positive psychology practices in their qualitative responses, while only the practice of Empathy resulted in a statistically significant change within the area of loneliness.
Discussion: Participants reflected on the impact of practicing all seven positive psychology interventions during the pandemic (Resilience, Empathy, Flow, Relationships, Appreciation, Meaning, or Embodiment), while Empathy was particularly useful to lessen loneliness.
Conclusions: Amidst isolation, social distancing, and disconnection, these results revealed promise in the effectiveness of practicing a specific positive psychology task (empathy) as a protective and coping factor for well-being. This research aimed to build on evidence for a framework of well-being as a potential source of human flourishing, specifically applied during a global pandemic (COVID-19).

Keywords: positive psychology, pandemic, resilience, flourishing, wellbeing, COVID-19


Dr. Erin Lefdahl-Davis, PhD, HSPP, ACC is Associate Professor of Graduate Counseling at Indiana Wesleyan University with over 25 years of experience in the fields of Student Development, Higher Education and Counseling Psychology. She is a licensed psychologist (HSPP) in the United States and a certified coach (ACC) through the  International Coaching Federation. She enjoys interdisciplinary collaboration and participates in the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning, particularly in the areas of positive psychology, theology, neuroscience and sociology. Dr. Davis has studied and participated in service work in several universities around the world, including England, Uganda, Egypt, Australia and Portugal. Her research interests, presentations and publications include topics such as cross-cultural and international psychology, coaching, relationships, sexuality and intimacy and the intersection of psychology and faith. She was a faculty member on the spring 2020 Semester at Sea voyage, which hosted field classes in Japan, Vietnam, Mauritius and South Africa, before ending early due to the pandemic.


Dr. David R. Stefan, Ph.D., LPC, is Associate Professor of Counseling and Psychology and a Life Calling Coach at Indiana Wesleyan University, where he directs the BS and MA in Psychology programs. He is also the founder of The Come Alive Collaborative, which provides positive psychology intervention resources and training.


Dr. Levi Huffman is a Life Calling Coach and Professor at Indiana Wesleyan University. He is a Professionally Certified Coach (PCC) through the International Coach Federation (ICF). Dr. Huffman writes curriculum for the department of Life Calling and Integrative Learning as well as Graduate Counseling while leading humanitarian relief efforts to areas including Swaziland, Sri Lanka, Nicaragua, and Zambia. He is an Experiential Coach who works with systems via wilderness immersive experiences to inspire team building, conflict resolution, and long-term goal setting. He has nearly 20 years of experience working in Collegiate Administration in areas that include Academic Affairs, Residential Life, Judicial Affairs, Career and Calling, Study Abroad Curriculum, and Adult Education. His research areas include the long-term impact of student leadership
positions post-college, student motivation, and human identity development.


Alexandra J. Alayan (M.A. Wheaton College) is a PhD student in Counseling Psychology at Colorado State University. Her research interests include vocational calling, meaningful work, positive psychology, and the role of religion and spirituality in work.