Part 2

Great Health Guide - - CONTENTS - Dr Suzanne Hen­wood

Four more ways to find mean­ing & pur­pose in life

To­day, many peo­ple are look­ing for a sense of pur­pose and are ex­plor­ing the mean­ing of life: why they ex­ist. And many peo­ple look to some fu­ture point, ex­pect­ing the mean­ing and pur­pose to come some­where dur­ing their life jour­ney. In Part 1 of Find Mean­ing and Pur­pose, we ex­plored four of the eight sim­ple ways to find more mean­ing and pur­pose in life right now, through prac­ti­cal ac­tiv­i­ties.


1. Find­ing mo­ments of sig­nif­i­cance, 2. Per­form­ing ran­dom acts of kind­ness, 3. Liv­ing your life ac­cord­ing to your

val­ues, 4. Hold­ing a higher pur­pose. In Find Mean­ing and Pur­pose: Part 2, we will ex­plore the other four sim­ple ways to help you find mean­ing and pur­pose in life.

5. Set up a project that you think is im­por­tant – get creative

De­sign a project that al­lows you to con­trib­ute to a wider group and serve oth­ers, meet­ing their needs, to fill a gap that your heart was aware of and you felt that you just had to act on. What needs are you aware of that speak to your heart? What can you do to meet those needs? It may be join­ing an ex­ist­ing move­ment or cre­at­ing one of your own. Act­ing to meet oth­ers needs is a great way to bring mean­ing and pur­pose to your own life.

6. Con­nect with oth­ers

David Whit­tier, dis­cussing the work of David Rock, sug­gests that as hu­man be­ings we have a core need to be­long and deeply con­nect with oth­ers. Chal­leng­ing the long-held model ex­pressed as

“Maslow’s Hi­er­ar­chy of Needs”, it is now sug­gested that so­cial con­nec­tion is one of our ba­sic safety needs, along with food, safety and shel­ter. If we fail to con­nect, then we might pre­sume that we would re­duce our abil­ity to find mean­ing. In to­day’s dig­i­tal age, it is easy to dis­con­nect. Maybe now more than ever be­fore there is a risk that in con­nect­ing on line rather than in per­son, we may lose sight of our mean­ing and pur­pose in the world. To­day then, re­flect on how you can con­nect deeply with oth­ers – on pur­pose – then act to make it hap­pen.

7. Tran­scend­ing trauma

No one is with­out pain and suf­fer­ing to some de­gree in their lives. In­deed, it is only by be­ing able to feel painful emo­tions, that we can fully ex­pe­ri­ence nur­tur­ing and pleas­ant emo­tions. As such, our goal is not to pre­vent any pain or suf­fer­ing, but to be able to tran­scend it and find mean­ing within that suf­fer­ing, pain or trauma. Prob­a­bly one of the most fa­mous ex­am­ples of this is, ‘Man’s Search for

Mean­ing’ writ­ten by Vik­tor Frankl, de­scrib­ing his ex­pe­ri­ences in the Auschwitz con­cen­tra­tion camp dur­ing World War II and his psy­chother­a­peu­tic method, which in­volved iden­ti­fy­ing a pur­pose in life to feel pos­i­tively about. The key mes­sage here is that no one can choose our at­ti­tude for us when we face ad­ver­sity. Us­ing sup­port, take time to heal old wounds and find mean­ing and pur­pose in even the dark­est of times in your life.

8. Tak­ing time to ex­pe­ri­ence awe

As a child we are cap­ti­vated by life: na­ture, fun, joy. We ex­press awe at sim­ple things: a rain­bow, a kit­ten, see­ing a rel­a­tive af­ter a pe­riod. Re­search shows that by re­con­nect­ing with that sense of awe and won­der, we can find mean­ing. Take time to slow down and be mind­ful of the world around us, in­stead of rush­ing through it and miss­ing the bless­ings it has to of­fer. This is strongly re­lated to grat­i­tude.

Grat­i­tude has been shown to in­crease hap­pi­ness and through hap­pi­ness we are able to get back in touch with mean­ing due to be­ing in a pos­i­tive emo­tional state. Take time to­day to ex­pe­ri­ence awe in the ev­ery­day and feel grat­i­tude for that.

Dr Suzanne Hen­wood is the Di­rec­tor and Lead Coach and Trainer of mB rain­ing 4 Suc­cess. She is also the CEO of The Healthy Work­place and a Mas­ter Trainer and Mas­ter Coach of mBIT (Mul­ti­ple Brain In­te­gra­tion Tech­niques) and can be con­tacted via her web­site.

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