Many people are drawn to connection theory because they feel such a lack of meaning and purpose in their lives. They don’t feel their daily lives are contributing anything worthwhile, or living up to their personal ideals and convictions. They sense a disconnect between their lived existence and what they truly, deeply wish for. There might be significant conflicts between their life choices and their personal values. But sometimes, there might not.
One of the most surprising and powerful things we teach is how to recognize and connect with the meaning that is there in their day-to-day life.
Stanford University did an amazing study in the 1990s that launched dozens of similar studies (with the same results). The researchers asked some undergraduate students on spring break to journal about what their most important personal values were; others were asked to write about the good things that had happened to them. When break was over three weeks later, the students who had written about their values were happier, healthier, and more confident about their ability to handle stress.
How could this be? The researchers analyzed the journals to see what the kids had been thinking. By reflecting on how their daily activities supported their values, students had gained a new perspective on those activities and choices. Little stresses and hassles, like having to fill out job applications or give younger siblings a lift, were now demonstrations of their values in action–a bold and important step toward their future career, a loving gesture of their commitment to family. Suddenly, their lives were full of meaningful activities. And all they had to do was write about it.
Connecting with meaning starts with connecting to your values. Take a piece of paper and write out what matters most to you. We think you’ll be surprised to see how you’re already putting those values into action each day. And we know you’ll be more fulfilled because of it.