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Mindful : April 2018
Make It Meaningful Living a life of purpose might be the ideal, but how to do it isn’t always clear. Here are some ideas to get started right where you are. Psychologist and The Power of Meaning author Emily Esfahani Smith spent five years research- ing what constitutes a meaningful life. Strength- ening even one of the resulting “four pillars” will support the quest for greater meaning in any- one’s life, she says. Belonging This comes from our relationships, from feeling valued for who we are and from valuing others. “It’s a choice—you can choose to cultivate belonging with others.” PICK A PILLAR Purpose Without some- thing worthwhile to do, we flounder, Esfahani Smith writes. And the key to pur- pose is using your strengths to serve others. This may be through your career, or it could be in walking shelter animals. What’s the “why” that drives you forward? Transcendence The moments when we’re “lifted above the hustle and bustle of daily life [and] feel con- nected to a higher reality” have the power to change us, Esfahani Smith says. In one study, students who Purpose isn’t always obvi- ous as we go through our day. In fact, the routine of daily life sometimes feels like the antithesis of mean- ing. That’s where intention comes in, says Parneet Pal of Wisdom Labs. “[It] can help you align your conscious thinking with a primal emo- tional drive...like reward, connection, purpose, self- identity and core values.” Upon rising, before you do anything else, try this: 1.Situpinbedorina nearby chair. Close your eyes and connect with the sensa- tions of your seated body. 2. Take three long, deep breaths. Then let your SET AN INTENTION contemplated 200-foot euca- lyptus trees for just one min- ute felt more centered and behaved more generously. Storytelling We each have a personal narrative that helps us to understand who we are. “But we don’t always realize that we’re the authors of our stories and can change the way we’re telling them. You can edit, interpret, and retell your story, even as you’re constrained by the facts,” she says. Can you tease out ele- ments of purpose in your life story? If so, let them help you chart a course forward. 1 2 breath settle into its own rhythm. 3. Think about the peo- ple and activities you will face today. Ask yourself: How might I show up to have the best impact? What quality of mind do I want to strengthen? In difficult moments, how might I be more compassionate? 4. Set an intention for the day. Then, pause to revisit your intention throughout the day. Over time, you might notice how the quality of your communications, relation- ships, and sense of pur- pose shifts. 22 mindful April 2018 LIVING | how to PHOTOGRAPHBYAMYCOVINGTON/STOCKSYUNITED