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Healthy Minds Learning Lab: A Life of Meaning

Watch the recording of our live Healthy Minds Learning Lab: A Life of Meaning and read our toolkit to go with it below!

Healthy Minds Learning Lab: A Life of Meaning (March 14, 2024)

A Life of Meaning Toolkit 

Key Things to Remember:

  • When we talk about purpose, we mean clarity concerning personally meaningful aims and values that one is able to apply in daily life.
  • There are benefits of living a life of purpose for the body, mind, and behavior, including:
    • Greater resiliency to stress
    • Decreased incidents of stroke and heart problems
    • Increase in life satisfaction, positive emotions, and overall psychological well-being
    • Increase in caring behaviors, academic performance, and volunteering
  • Reminding ourselves of our values can reduce worrying, increase positive emotions, and decrease stress hormones in the body.

When it comes to purpose, start with clarifying–what is the deeper meaning?

Then, apply that perspective as you engage in the activity. 

Then, extend this meaning into different situations in your life.

Guided Practice

Check out this practice from the Healthy Minds Program App on The Experience of Meaning (5-minute version with Cort)

Tips to Practice in Daily Life

  • Keep asking why:

Before you engage in a daily activity, ask yourself “Why am I doing this task?” Keep asking why until you find the deeper purpose for this seemingly mundane task. Use this deeper meaning as the lens through which you engage in the activity.

  • Reframe a Difficulty:

When you encounter a difficulty–maybe you get some bad news or something doesn’t go according to plan, choose a value to reframe the situation. You simply ask yourself: “How can I view this situation differently through the lens of this value?” and see what comes up. 

Deeper Reflections:

If you enjoyed the reflection activity, here are a couple of other prompts to deepen your exploration. Feel free to meditate, journal, or reflect on these:

Reflection #1: Your 100th Birthday

Imagine you are celebrating your 100th birthday. What qualities do you want to be remembered for (like patience, generosity, compassion, etc.) What greater purpose do you want to be known for? What impact would you like to have made on your friends, family, and colleagues?

Reflection #2: Inspiring Figures

Bring to mind a person who inspires you to be a better person. They might be family members, friends, co-workers, or even public or historical figures you never met. Reflect on why they inspire you. What deeper purpose might be driving them? What do you think drives them? What can you learn from this person that might  help you connect to  meaning in your life?

You can start training your mind with the Healthy Minds Program App, freely available thanks to the generosity of our donors wherever you get your apps.

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