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Happiness vs. Meaning

Happiness vs. Meaning

The other day I heard a piece of research about the difference between happiness and meaning in our lives, it turns out they arn’t necessarily connected. People tend to find happiness through presence doing things like being mindful, practicing gratitude, taking time to slow down etc. It also is associated with taking or buying things that we want, it’s a sense of security. But it turns out that people find meaning through the big stuff- think cultivating relationships, raising a family, building skillsets, creating, and making things and giving back. All things that require you to “transcend present moment” and step into the future. Happiness is in the now and meaning is living towards the future. Ideally, we want to seek a balance of happiness and meaning in our lives which means that we need to embrace some of the grit and uncertainty that comes with meaning while also attuning ourselves to the moment.

In my life right now writing my book feels like a very long term and meaningful venture. It requires me to have my gaze on the horizon, experience discomfort and uncertainty constantly and have faith in the bigger ideas I am trying to synthesize. But it is kind of gruelling and requires a lot of sacrifice. So, I have been using art making, cooking, and lots of walks to remind myself to step away from writing and be present. These little excursions into the momentary feel like medicine, they fill me up so that I can go back to the big stuff. Right now, meaning and happiness feel in balance, but as we know life always shifts.

If you want to read more about this research here is an excellent article exploring it.

Art below by my 6 year old son ❤️


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