It’s common to be moving through life, doing your best to balance all your responsibilities and enjoy what leisure time you have and still be fighting a constant nagging feeling that something is missing. That thing, we often find, is a greater sense of meaning.
With that in mind, here is a list of 10 things you can do to add greater meaning to your life. Effort has been made to make these items that are accessible, doable, and that do not require major life changes.
1. Slow Down – Making an effort to slow our pace can help us become more aware of moments that might otherwise be lost to us. Pay attention to your surroundings and observe details like a colorful wild flower or beautiful sunset.
2. Appreciate the Little Things – Our days are filled with beautiful little moments if we make an effort to appreciate them. Smelling the coffee grounds while we are making our morning coffee can help provoke meaningful connection to the Earth, listening to the song of a bird can help lift our spirits, and so on.
3. Brighten Someone’s Day – Whenever you feel like you don’t matter, go and do something kind for someone else. You will quickly be reminded that you very much matter and that what you do matters.
4. Be of Service – This is similar to the last one, but on a grander scale. Volunteer in a soup kitchen, plant some trees, paint a community center… Acts of altruism pay us back many times over with the meaning that they add to our lives.
5. Practice Mindfulness – Studies show that a regular mindfulness practice can lift our mood and help us make meaning of otherwise mundane tasks. One such practice is mindful eating. Rather than simply shoveling the food in, pay close attention to your eating. Smell the food, notice how it feels in your mouth, really take the time to taste it, and reflect upon how the food’s ingredients were grown, picked, cooked, etc. All of these things combined make eating more meaningful and less just something you do every day.
6. Ask People How They Are Doing And Really Mean It – Take the time to show someone you care about them by asking them how they are and really listening to their answer. If they say they’re just “OK” then unpack that. Why are they just OK? What’s bringing them down? Can you be of assistance? You’ll be surprised how taking the time to care deeply about others will help make your life more meaningful.
7. Tell People How Much They Mean to You – It’s easy to think that people know how highly we think of them, but the fact is that people don’t know unless we tell them. And you might be surprised how hard people can be on themselves. Everyone likes to hear nice things about themselves. This one will add more meaning to your life and theirs.
8. Write a Thank You Note – This one is like the last one on steroids. Imagine what it would mean to you to know that you made a difference in someone’s life. You possess the power to make that happen for someone else! Write to someone who has made a positive impact in your life and let them know how you feel. It will be meaningful for you both.
9. Be Affectionate – Touch can be powerful. And affectionate touch can be highly meaningful. Keep in mind that consent is vital, but if the other person views it positively then affection is a wonderful way to add meaning to healthy relationships.
10. Discover Your Passions! – Is there anything you’re passionate about? If not, then you’re simply not getting to most out of life. Keep searching until you find one or two things that really excite you. Participating in engaging activities or hobbies can add mounds of meaning to our lives. It doesn’t have to be expensive; maybe you’re passion is hiking, biking, or volunteering. The important thing is to do things that matter to you and live it up!
All the best,
Founder, Century of Compassion