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PERMAnent Happiness - "M"

M - Meaning

This is part four in the series of “How to enjoy PERMA-NENT Happiness”.

The search for meaning and the need to have a sense of value and worth is an innate human quality. Seligman (2012) discussed meaning as belonging and/or serving something greater than ourselves. Having a purpose in life helps individuals focus on what is important in the face of challenges or adversity.

What meaning or purpose in life looks like is different for every person. Meaning may be pursued through a profession, a social cause, a creative endeavour, or a belief in God. It may be found in a career or through extracurricular, church, volunteer, or community activities.

Personal values guide a sense of meaning, and people who report having a purpose in life live longer, have greater life satisfaction and have fewer health problems (Kashdan, Mishra, Breen, & Froh, 2009).

Ways to build meaning:

  1. Get involved in a cause or organisation that matters to you.
  2. Try new, creative activities to find things you connect with.
  3. Think about how you can use your passions to help others.
  4. Spend quality time with people you care about.