Study: To Belong is to Matter: Sense of Belonging Enhances Meaning in Life

Nico Rose - Meaning in LifeOne of the central tenets in Positive Psychology goes as follows: Other People Matter. It was coined by the late Christopher Peterson as the shortest possible summary of research on human wellbeing. Peterson wanted to make the point that having healthy relationships with family, friends, and coworkers turns out to be the strongest predictor of happiness (and oftentimes: health) in most studies on human wellbeing.

A recent study by Nathaniel Lambert et. al titled To Belong is to Matter: Sense of Belonging Enhances Meaning in Life sheds additional light on this relationship. Here´s a shortened version of the article´s abstract:

We found correlational, longitudinal, and experimental evidence that a sense of belonging predicts how meaningful life is perceived to be. Additionally, we found a strong positive correlation between sense of belonging and meaningfulness. Furthermore, we found that initial levels of sense of belonging predicted perceived meaningfulness of life, obtained 3 weeks later. Furthermore, initial sense of belonging predicted independent evaluations of participants essays on meaning in life.

In short, what they are saying is:

Belonging = Meaning

Or, more precisely: If I matter to other people, my life matters.

Nine requisites for contented living – according to Goethe

If Johann Wolfgang von Goethe lived today, I´m sure he would be a Positive Psychology evangelist.

“Nine requisites for contented living:
Health enough to make work a pleasure.
Wealth enough to support your needs.
Strength to battle with difficulties and overcome them.
Grace enough to confess your sins and forsake them.
Patience enough to toil until some good is accomplished.
Charity enough to see some good in your neighbor.
Love enough to move you to be useful and helpful to others.
Faith enough to make real the things of God.
Hope enough to remove all anxious fears concerning the future.”

Goethe - Contentment

Do you know “Action for Happiness”? Well, you should!

Action for Happiness - GREAT DREAMAction for Happiness is a Positive Psychology-infused movement based in the U.K. It was started, among others, by LSE professor Richard Layard (author of the book “Happiness: Lessons from a New Science”; see his TED talk here) and the organization´s patron is the Dalai Lama. What do they do? In their own words:

Action for Happiness is a movement of people committed to building a happier and more caring society. We want to see a fundamentally different way of life – where people care less about what they can get just for themselves and more about the happiness of others.

We bring together like-minded people from all walks of life and help them take practical action, drawing on the latest scientific research. We are  backed by leading experts from diverse fields including psychology, education, economics and social innovation.

Members of the movement make a simple pledge: to try to create more happiness in the world around them. We provide ideas and resources to enable people to take action at home, at work or in their community. Many of our members form local groups to take action together.

Here´s their introductory video on YouTube:

If you are interested in all things Positive Psychology, you should definitely check out their website; and of course, they share great content on Facebook and Twitter.

P.S.

There´s a similar, albeit smaller, movement here in Germany: HeartLeaders. The focus is on bringing Positive Psychology to organizations and workplaces, sharing great advice and tools, e.g., for employee recognition and appreciation.

7 wonderful TED Talks related to Positive Psychology (Self-Motivation, Body Language, Positive Stress… and more)

Here, I present to you seven (more or less…) recent TED talks related to Positive Psychology. Enjoy!

Here´s an older list of 20 TED talks based on Positive Psychology. And by the way: I firmly believe that my own TEDx talk needs to have a least one million views. That´s just 996.783 to go. Are you going to help me out? 🙂