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Engaging with life: Synchronicity experiences as a pathway to meaning and personal growth

Abstract

Synchronicity refers to the psychological process of meaningful coincidences. Despite its deep roots in early psychological theory, little systematic scientific research has been conducted on synchronicity experiences as an everyday phenomenon. This study is an exploratory qualitative attempt to characterize experiences of meaningful coincidences through a bottom-up approach. Based on a phenomenological analysis of indepth interviews of 45 adults, the findings suggest a dynamic model of three major building blocks (REM): receptiveness (R) or increased attention and openness to feelings and cognitions and to the external environment; viewed as a precondition for an exceptional encounter (E), a sudden unexpected event that echoes an inner feeling or thought, commonly evoking memorable and distinctive emotions; and meaning detecting (M), a conscious process of connecting the event to oneself while revalidating a sense of coherence, purpose and control in life. Findings also point to the multidimensional and complex nature of synchronicity experiences and reveal some positive outcomes. Theoretical and practical implications are discussed, and study limitations and directions for future research are suggested.

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Correspondence to Pninit Russo-Netzer.

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Russo-Netzer, P., Icekson, T. Engaging with life: Synchronicity experiences as a pathway to meaning and personal growth. Curr Psychol 41, 597–610 (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-019-00595-1

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s12144-019-00595-1

Keywords

  • Synchronicity experiences
  • Meaning
  • Coherence
  • Qualitative
  • Wellbeing