By Jeremy Adam Smith, Bianca Lorenz, Kira M. Newman, Lauren Klein, Lisa Bennett , Jason Marsh, Jill Suttie
It’s time once again for our favorite year-end ritual here at UC Berkeley’s Greater Good Science Center: Our annual list of the top scientific insights produced by the study of happiness, altruism, mindfulness, gratitude—what we call “the science of a meaningful life.”
We found that this year, the science of a meaningful life yielded many new insights about the relationship between our inner and outer lives. Cultivating mindfulness can make us more aware of knee-jerk prejudice against people who are different from us; believing that empathy is a skill helps overcome barriers to taking another person’s perspective; concern for others, even for animals, can move people to action for the greater good more quickly than focusing on ourselves.
But this year we also learned more about how to cultivate pro-social skills like gratitude—and we discovered how those skills can yield far-reaching benefits to our mental and physical well-being, and even to our pocketbooks.
With input from our staff, faculty, and some of the leading outside experts in our field, here are the 10 findings from 2014 that we anticipate will have an…