Cultivate A More Meaningful Life

Living a meaningful life and deciding what is meaningful are age-old questions. Questions that have plagued mankind for centuries. What does it mean to have a meaningful life? Can one achieve a more meaningful existence? What are some suggestions for how to achieve a more meaningful life? Before we can answer the question of how to create meaning, we must first define what meaning is.

What is the definition of meaning?

When we talk about meaning in psychology, we are generally referring to a significant or
valuable explanation for why something happened or why it matters. This sense of meaning contributes to greater well-being. Although there is some agreement on what leads to meaning in life, ultimately, the definition of meaning depends on who you ask. If you have ever felt that your life lacks meaning, then take comfort in the fact that you are not alone. Many people feel this way, as evidenced by the many books on meaningful living that have been published in recent years.

How is “meaning” different than “happiness”?

Happiness is a state of mind and it is fleeting. It is an emotion that can change from one minute to the next. Meaning is a sense of fulfilment you get from interacting with other people, it comes from caring for others. It comes from our experiences as human beings. Our identities can contribute to more meaning. Overcoming difficulties that made us who we are. Our story. The story about how we came to be who we are is meaningful to us, and to those who care about us.

Meaning also comes from coping with challenges, while happiness does not. Doing things that are hard can generate a sense of meaning. We feel like we have accomplished something important, or…meaningful. You can find meaning in situations that we experience on a daily basis. It’s interesting to see how meaning may more often come from difficulty than ease. Here are a few examples of meaningful situations:

  • The birth of a child
  • Getting a promotion
  • The passing of a loved one
  • A significant change in a relationship such as divorce
  • Losing a job
  • A tragic experience like a car accident

Creating a Life That Matters: How to Live and Love with Meaning and Purpose

How to create meaning in your life

First, there is no single way to find meaning in life. Finding your own meaning is a personal journey; what brings one person meaning might not work for another. However, the following techniques can help you find meaning even if they aren’t the ones that ultimately work for you.

Cultivate a positive passion

Motivation and passion are two factors that drive our desire and interest in most of what we do. Motivation is used for the things we find boring, or just really don’t want to do. Passion is what use to do the things we want to. Such as become a life coach to help other people rediscover themselves.

Passion can be either positive or negative so we must be careful which form of passion we use for our endeavors. Negative passions can become highly unhealthy and create more problems, while positive passionate outlets can be good for the soul. Positive, harmonious passions make us better people and help us to live life to the fullest.

Cultivate positive social relationships

The most meaningful experiences in life are often the ones that connect us to other people. People who have a lack of meaningful social connections are more likely to feel lonely and disconnected. When you share your passions with a group of people who are also passionate about the same things, you can further develop your passions and sense of meaningfulness.

Cultivate personal relationships

Not all social relationships are equal to the personal ones. If you want to feel connected to others, focus on relationships where you feel like you belong. Thinking of people with whom one feels a sense of belonging increases the perception of meaning in life. We all want to feel like we belong, whether it be to a certain group or to family.

A Worthwhile Life: How to Find Meaning, Build Connection, and Cultivate Purpose

Cultivate a positive mindset

Studies have shown that positive mindsets are associated with a sense of meaning in life. Mood management can be a challenge for many people, but there are some techniques that can help. For example, making time for interests and hobbies, getting enough sleep and exercising regularly are critical to maintaining a positive mood. Eating healthily is also important, as is finding activities that bring you joy or help you feel relaxed. Mindfulness practices can be useful as well — they involve bringing your full attention to whatever you’re doing in the present moment.

Cultivate a positive environment

When we have a positive environment, such as a clean house or office; or our life structure is stable we tend to handle challenges that come our way better. Those challenges do not affect us as they would before. We roll with it and move on better.

Create meaning with kindness

One of the best ways to cultivate life purpose is by giving, being kind, compassionate, and
generous. You may feel like you are in greater alignment with your values. So ask yourself, what are kind acts you could engage in? Your random acts of kindness could be as simple as sharing a kind word or thank you. Or you could do a task for someone, like mowing their lawn, getting them groceries, or shoveling snow. You can also be kind creatively, maybe by giving someone a hand-made card or picture.
You could also do community service or join a program to clean up the environment. When you
are giving, you can start to feel that you are providing something that helps others and are living
a life of meaning. Regardless of the strategy you choose, kindness is a great way to create more meaning in your life.

Don’t forget to notice what is already meaningful in your life. Maybe you find meaning in that
one flower that somehow grew from between the cracks of the sidewalk. Maybe there is
meaning in looking over rolling hills that seem to stretch on forever. Or maybe you find meaning
in spending time with your pets. There are all sorts of little things that can provide meaning if
you take the time to notice them.

If you make use of the tips provided here, you really can create more meaning in your life.

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