Authenticity, defined as the correspondence between internal experiences and external expressions, is emerging as a key determinant of psychological well-being. Research indicates a strong link between authenticity and various aspects of well-being, in both professional and personal contexts. This article explores the benefits of authenticity and discusses protocols and techniques supported by peer-reviewed research to improve authenticity in daily life.

Benefits of authenticity

Studies have consistently shown that authenticity is linked to greater psychological well-being and life satisfaction. Hülsheger et al (2013) found that people who exhibit authenticity experience lower levels of emotional burnout and greater job satisfaction. Similarly, Neff et al (2005) have shown that the ability to feel compassion for oneself is a key component of authenticity, and is linked to adaptive coping strategies and resilience in the face of failure.

In private life, authenticity fosters authentic relationships and closeness in relationships. Kernis and Goldman (2006) argue that authenticity increases relational closeness and trust, leading to more satisfying social interactions. In addition, authenticity is linked to greater self-esteem and subjective well-being (Goldman & Kernis, 2002), contributing to overall happiness and life satisfaction.

Protocols and techniques for improving authenticity

Several protocols and techniques have been developed to improve authenticity and promote well-being:

Mindfulness-based interventions (MBI):

Mindfulness practices develop self-awareness and awareness of the present moment, facilitating a deeper understanding of one’s own thoughts and emotions. Lillis et al (2009) have shown that mindfulness-based interventions help individuals clarify their values and harmonize their behavior with their authentic self, leading to greater psychological well-being.

Clarity of values held:

Value clarification exercises encourage individuals to reflect on their core values and priorities in life. By recognizing what really matters to them, individuals can make decisions that are consistent with their authentic self (Kernis et al., 2013).

Expressive writing:

Expressive writing allows individuals to explore their thoughts and emotions in a non-judgmental and open manner. Kernis et al (2013) found that expressive writing promotes authenticity by encouraging self-expression and processing emotions.

Authenticity-Oriented Therapy (AOT):

AOT is a therapeutic approach that focuses on helping individuals deepen their self-understanding and overcome barriers to authenticity. Goldman and Kernis (2002) argue that AOT promotes healthy psychological functioning and subjective well-being by developing self-awareness and acceptance.

Labeling emotions:

Emotion labeling involves identifying and labeling emotions as they arise, which can help individuals gain insight into their inner experiences and develop emotional authenticity. Research by Lieberman et al (2007) suggests that emotion labeling reduces the activity of the amygdala, an area of the brain associated with emotional reactivity, and enhances the activity of the prefrontal cortex, which is involved in emotion regulation. This neuronal process can facilitate emotional clarity and authenticity.

Somatic experience:

Somatic Experiencing is a body-oriented approach to treating trauma that focuses on releasing physical tension and restoring nervous system regulation. Ginzburg et al (2017) found that somatic experiencing therapy led to significant improvements in authenticity and well-being in people with trauma-related disorders. By reconnecting with bodily sensations and promoting self-regulation, somatic experiences can enhance authenticity and emotional resilience.

Practice in gratitude:

Gratitude practices involve reflecting on and expressing gratitude for the positive aspects of life, which can foster a sense of authenticity.