What are the cornerstones of feeling good each day?

This study establishes three pillars: autonomy, competence and relatedness. The key elements of relatedness are “meaningful talk and feeling understood and appreciated”:

Emotional well-being is most typically studied in trait or trait-like terms, yet a growing literature indicates that daily (within-person) fluctuations in emotional well-being may be equally important. The present research explored the hypothesis that daily variations may be understood in terms of the degree to which three basic needs—autonomy, competence, and relatedness—are satisfied in daily activity. Hierarchical linear models were used to examine this hypothesis across 2 weeks of daily activity and well-being reports controlling for trait-level individual differences. Results strongly supported the hypothesis. The authors also examined the social activities that contribute to satisfaction of relatedness needs. The best predictors were meaningful talk and feeling understood and appreciated by interaction partners. Finally, the authors found systematic day-of-the-week variations in emotional well-being and need satisfaction. These results are discussed in terms of the importance of daily activities and the need to consider both trait and day-level determinants of well-being.

Source: “Daily Well-Being: The Role of Autonomy, Competence, and Relatedness” from Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin

Regular readers may be making some connections.

Here’s what occured to me when I read this:

  • Autonomy and competence“: Two of the key ideas in Daniel Pink’s excellent book on motivation, Drive. Notes here.
  • Relatedness“: Harvard happiness expert Daniel Gilbert’s key finding on what makes us happy? Family and friends.
  • Feelings appreciated by interaction partners“: It’s hard to underestimate the importance of gratitude.

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