For many people, the goal in life is to achieve happiness. This can put a lot of pressure on a person and can actually result in the individual’s self-worth declining and making them feel worse than ever. Rather than trying to attain happiness, if you search for meaning instead, you can seek a more tangible goal which can more successfully ward off depression.
Happiness, an Elusive Goal
If you live in the U.S., you probably hear it all the time: happiness is the best thing you can achieve. There is a whole culture built up around attaining happiness, with self-help books, happiness coaches, and other resources hammering the message home. The flip side of this focus is the understanding that, if you don’t achieve happiness, it is somehow your fault.
This is not the best way to live. In fact, happiness is a fleeting sensation and few people can be happy all the time. Therefore, any person whose ultimate goal is achieving happiness is going to feel like a failure at least some of the time. This will invariably impact that person’s self-worth and ultimately lead them to live a less happy life than if they had set other goals instead.
Search for Meaning Instead
So what goals should a person set for themselves then? Instead of chasing a fleeting sensation such as happiness, try looking for meaning instead. Many people do not feel a sense of purpose in life and without this sense of purpose, it is impossible to achieve any kind of happiness that is more than superficial. Searching for meaning can be an in-depth process and can take many forms, but in every instance, it involves a deeper engagement with the world around you.
Here are a few ways that you might go about searching for meaning:
- Setting Specific Goals and Meeting Them. Nothing can create a greater sense of meaning than choosing a specific goal, whether professional, spiritual, or interpersonal, and then fulfilling that goal.
- Encountering People or Situations that are Unfamiliar. When you encounter the unknown, it can be scary, but by enlarging your world and base of knowledge, you can fill your life with greater purpose.
- Do Something that Benefits Others. Understanding yourself as part of a larger world is essential to living a meaningful life. By doing something to help others, you can enrich not only their lives, but your own as well.
No matter what you do to find meaning in your life, sometimes feeling of hopeless or depression are inevitable. In these cases, there are many forms of help available, from speaking with a therapist to undergoing a course of medication. If you find yourself resistant to these treatments, ketamine therapy can be a great option. This safe and innovative treatment has helped many people overcome their depression and live fulfilling lives.
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