The Journal of Pacific Rim Psychology published some exciting research from our Connection Lab in January 2020. (Full text available HERE.) We had been studying the relationship between self-connection and mindfulness, trying to understand how each of these ideas relate to what the end goal is for most people: life satisfaction and flourishing.
Self-Connection’s Role in Living Your Best Life
In the psychology world, flourishing means the combination of a couple of different factors, like having positive social relationships and social capital, a sense of hope and optimism, an interest and engagement with different activities, and the belief that you’re competent in areas that are important to you. Life satisfaction, refreshingly, means quite simply that you feel satisfied with your life.
What our studies found was that whether you’re talking about flourishing or life satisfaction, people’s levels of self-connection are closely tied to it. We found that people who are more self-connected also tend to be flourishing and more satisfied with life – even when you control for age, area of residence, education, gender and race.
These findings confirmed our hunch that self-connection is an important tool to achieve the lives we most want to live. When we are connected to ourselves, we are living in a way that feels good and right and fundamentally alive. These peer-reviewed results show that this is, indeed, true.
The Role of Mindfulness
Our studies were also trying to understand why mindfulness always seems to be an important predictor of flourishing and life satisfaction. Established research has shown conclusively that they’re related, but no one has really shown why. We had noticed in earlier research that self-connected people tended to use mindfulness as a tool for deepening self-connection, so our most recent studies tested whether self-connection might be the missing link between mindfulness and well-being.
Our results suggest it might. In both studies, with different research subjects, people who scored high on mindfulness – defined as paying attention in a deliberate way, in the present moment, and nonjudgmentally – also tended to be more self-connected. And, as we just discussed, self-connected people tended to be better off in terms of well-being. These findings suggest that maybe the reason mindfulness makes people contented is because it boosts self-connection, which tends to promote flourishing and life satisfaction.
What Does This Mean?
Our published studies carve out a special place for self-connection on the road to true well-being, which we hope will encourage more illuminating studies on its role and usefulness.
The peer-reviewed findings from these published studies also confirm a cornerstone of Connection Theory: that mindfulness matters. Our results prove that mindfulness plays an important role in how self-connected we are: When we are more mindful, we are more self-connected; when we are more self-connected, we are satisfied, flourishing, and living our best lives.