If you’re anything like me, you’re constantly striving to create a completely happy life. At times, I get so wrapped up in my journey to happiness that I often forget that stress is a natural part of life. No one feels pure joy every second of the day. (What would be the fun in that?)
Those that have committed to the ‘must be happy at all times’ path – often feel whacked in the face when the waves of change come. When things interrupt our elusive happiness quest and natural emotions come like feeling sad, they feel extra heavy because we feel like a failure. We feel like we have to return to joy as soon as possible, instead of just allowing the low-level emotions to pass through.
Recent new studies led by the psychologist Iris Mauss, show that the more emphasis people place on happiness, the less happy they become.
That’s a startling statistic for us happiness chasers, who may feel like we’re swimming against the current trying to create a totally joyful life, only met with real occurrences of disappointment that life throws at us.
So, what if we quit trying so hard? What if we took our focus outside of our own minds and created more joy for the WORLD vs. just our own selves?
By pursuing meaning vs. happiness, we can create fulfillment in our lives and others. Here are a few ways we can seek meaning in our everyday lives:
Volunteer your time– The most natural way to create meaning is to give your time to causes that better your community and the world. Though spending your Saturday morning shopping use to bring you what you considered happiness, you may be surprised at the state of belonging and meaning you have after giving a few hours of your weekend morning to others, through teaching a class, working at a soup kitchen or your local garden. As time progresses, you will feel more involved with the charitable organization of your choice and the feeling of meaning will remain with you. The sense you’re a part of something bigger is what we’re after here.
Speak and write on what you know– Are you excellent at something? Do you have a way of accomplishing tasks quicker than others? Have you figured one of lives troubles out? If you have, creating meaning can be as simple as sharing what you are good at with others who may struggle in your area of expertise. Seeing your students or those who read your blog, social media posts, etc. excel will bring you great joy and purpose as well as give you a chance to practice your strength in various outlets.
Mentor others– If you’re reading this on your smartphone or laptop, I bet you’re better off than many people in your community. Donating your time to mentoring those less fortunate than you will provide your community with better young adults and give your life more purpose as you completely change the life of someone else.
Whichever meaningful activity you chose, make sure you enjoy it by testing your state of flow. Ask yourself key questions like Was your mind wandering? Were you present? Have you stopped smiling? These are keys you’re on the right track. You may try many meaningful activities before stumbling upon the one you love most.
Let’s vow to stop chasing happiness and pursue meaning… you never know, happiness might just show up to the party anyway.
Wishing you a MEANINGFUL day,
P.S. I’d love for you to DM me on Instagram and let me know what you thought of this article! You can follow me for daily motivation at @IamGabiGarrett.