Evidence That It Works
Three studies involving more than 350 participants in the United States (college students and community adults) found that writing or telling narratives about significant life events shed light on the importance of participants’ personal agency and relationships in the narratives they told. In other words, it can help people see how their actions and connection to other people shaped who they are and helped them to grow in wisdom.
Research has also discovered that telling personal narratives can mobilize educators’ sense of agency, suggesting that reflecting on one’s life journey may empower us to pursue personally meaningful goals, serving a purpose beyond ourselves.
In addition, pondering our life goals, purpose, and the meaning of our life journeys can be a means through which we experience awe and well-being. Indeed, a study of 563 Chinese adults found that dispositional awe (a strong tendency to feel awe), together with a sense of meaning in life, is connected to higher levels of well-being and happiness.
Why Does It Matter?
The work of teachers and other education professionals is fast-paced and demanding, which can impact their well-being and leave little time to remember why they chose to work in education in the first place. Thus, offering educators an opportunity to intentionally connect to their calling by reflecting on their life journeys—and appreciate the “awe” of their lives—can provide a means to increased well-being by grounding their work in meaning and purpose.