You know that feeling you get when you’re diving into the ocean or are immersed in nature and are struck by a complete sense of peace? Well it turns out that blissful state isn’t just thanks to the fresh sea salt and oxygen (although they help!), but it’s a sense of ‘oneness’ – where we don’t see ourselves as separate from our surroundings but instead completely connected to them, as if we’re all one part of a whole.
And, according to science, by deepening this sense of ‘oneness’ and believing in it will bring a greater sense of life satisfaction. In the study, researchers surveyed over 75,000 people and asked them questions related to their beliefs surrounding ‘oneness’ as well as sense of social connectedness, connectedness to nature and empathy alongside life satisfaction.
Of those surveyed, there was participants from a variety of religious backgrounds, including Protestant denominations, Catholicism, Judaism, Islam, Hinduism and Buddhism as well as Atheists but interestingly, their beliefs didn’t significantly affect the results While oneness scores did vary by religion (Muslims had the highest median score while atheists had the lowest), overall, a sense of oneness no matter what belief system people had indicated a high level of life satisfaction, versus those who didn’t believe in oneness. What the researchers also were able to determine is that when you practise something (be it yoga, meditation, action sports) that gets you into ‘flow state’ it strengthens this sense of oneness. What is flow state? According to Positive Psychologist Mihaly Csikezentmihalyi it’s “a sense of being completely involved in an activity for its own sake. The ego falls away. Time flies. Every action, movement and thought follows inevitably from the previous one, like playing jazz. Your whole being is involved and you’re using your skills to the utmost.”
By regularly trying to tap into flow state we can grow our sense of oneness, allowing us to feel connected to self and the world simultaneously. Aside from being ‘at one’ how else can we cultivate a deeper sense of life satisfaction? Through mindfulness. Studies show that by being more mindful in everyday life we can boost our mood and overall quality of life quality – and it’s as simple as following and concentrating on a simple guided meditation practise. So, if you’ve been living in a state of ‘me versus the world,’ perhaps try switching your mindset to a sense of connectedness and see how much your happiness soars!