Having a purpose, or reason for living, appear to be important parts of meaningful engagement.
The need for purpose is one of the defining characteristics of human beings. Human beings crave purpose. It is a fundamental component of a fulfilling life.
Writer and therapist Zoryna O’Donnell goes even further in saying that people suffer serious psychological difficulties when they do not have it. She cites the work Man’s Search for Meaning by psychiatrist Viktor Frankl as a case in point.
“This book was first published in 1946. It describes how the author’s experiences as a prisoner in Auschwitz during World War II helped him to discover that the desire to find a meaning in life is essential to the human experience, even more than the desire for pleasure or power.”
Four key factors
She documents four key factors that help to promote meaning and purpose in life:
- Physical and mental well-being (taking care of our body and mind, using stress-reduction techniques and building mental resilience)
- Belonging and recognition (being part of something much larger than oneself, feeling valued and validated)
- Personally treasured activities (things we do that make us feel good – hobbies, spending time with our family and friends)
- Spiritual closeness and connectedness (a feeling that all living things in the world are interrelated). Religion can be part of spirituality, but spirituality goes beyond religion.