Sarah Henry, Berkeleyside, June 22, 2012
"What do you look for when measuring what a meaningful life looks like?
"We focus on the interpersonal aspects that enhance gratitude, such as positive connections and an engagement with family, friends, and the community. Trust is important: If we’re open to trust we have opportunities for cooperation. Giving is another one — there’s fun science that shows people who are given money to spend on others rather than on themselves feel more satisfied and content than those who spend the money on themselves.
"A sense of playfulness is another: joking and gentle teasing can make us feel more grateful, as can a sense of awe, an appreciation of others, thinking optimistically, and paying attention. Research shows that we’re actually wired to share and give and take pleasure in doing so. Another study that highlights the importance of interpersonal connections looked at appropriate touch and found that basketball players who engage in positive physical contact with teammates — such as fist bumps and shoulder nudges — win more games than teams that don’t."