We are pleased to share a new publication to come out of IONS Discovery Lab, Exploring Personal Development Workshops’ Effect on Well-being and Interconnectedness in the Journal of Integrative and Complementary Medicine. IONS Discovery Lab (IDL) is an ongoing inquiry into the relationship between interconnectedness, intuition, and well-being through data collected from participants in personal development workshops, alternative healing practices, and transformational retreats. Online surveys are now available in seven languages to help expand our global reach.
Although the concepts of well-being, interconnectedness, and intuition may appear disparate, IONS hypothesizes that they are related. Observing these relationships in the context of personal development may provide a greater understanding of these topics.
Using survey records collected between March 2018 and November 2020, we explored change scores pre and post-workshop, assessed workshop content and format, and analyzed the relationship between interconnectedness, intuition, and well-being. Participants were invited to complete questionnaires and tasks before and after low-risk personal development workshops, retreats, or courses conducted in-person or online.
We found a significant positive relationship between interconnectedness and well-being and compassion. Overall the personal development workshops in this study increased subjective interconnectedness, well-being, positive emotion, and compassion while reducing sleep disturbances, negative emotions, and pain. The lecture, small groups, pairs, and discussion workshop formats were significant predictors of well-being outcomes, and meditation was the most consistent predictor of positive well-being changes.
These results suggest that more engaging workshop formats might result in more remarkable improvement in well-being measures. Perhaps the format of didactic lectures does not require as much participant investment and has less transformative potential. These speculations could be further explored by understanding each format’s percentage within the workshop and having more workshops for each format in future studies. Perhaps the act of engaging in personal growth activities, regardless of their specific focus, may improve a person’s sense of meaning and purpose and their sense of connectedness with those around them.
This study provides preliminary evidence for the positive relationship between the subjective sense of interconnectedness and multiple well-being measures, and the beneficial effects of some personal development workshops. IONS Discovery Lab continues to build on this research and offers free evidence-based reports to participating workshop facilitators and healing practitioners.
We are currently recruiting partners overseas with the online surveys now available in Spanish, Mandarin, French, English, Portuguese, German, and Italian. To learn more and apply, please visit IONS Discovery Lab.