SHIFT YOUR FOCUS
“I’ll be happy when I get this job/this partner/these new Loubs” said every person ever. That’s great, but playing the “when” game also pretty much guarantees you’ll never be satisfied. Choose meaning and purpose instead and happiness will follow, says Emily Esfahani Smith, author of The Power of Meaning. “A meaningful life is associated with connecting and contributing to something that’s bigger than you,” she says, noting that, according to studies, “it leaves people with a deeper sense of wellbeing.” So, how, pray tell, can we figure out our life’s purpose? You don’t have to transform into Mother Teresa overnight. (Although for some, spirituality plays a role in defining their purpose.) Figure out what your interests are and how you can contribute them to the world. Or, as Esfahani Smith says, decide how you can make other people’s lives better— even if it’s just asking your over-it barista how her day is. “Hopefully the sense of gratification that comes from that can initiate a string of behaviours,” she says.