Lesson 1 - Meaning and Purpose
Your mental health influences how you Influences how you think, feel, and behave in daily life. It also affects your ability to cope with stress, overcome challenges, build relationships, and recover from life’s setbacks and hardships. Strong mental health isn’t just the absence of mental health issues, being mentally or emotionally healthy is much more.
Everyone derives meaning and purpose in different ways. Think of it as a way to feel needed, feel good about yourself, a purpose that drives you on, or simply a reason to get out of bed in the morning. In biological terms, finding meaning and purpose is essential to brain health as it can help generate new cells and create new neural pathways in the brain. It can also strengthen your immune system, alleviate pain, relieve stress, and keep you motivated to pursue the other steps to improve mental and emotional health. However you derive meaning and purpose in life, it’s important to do it every day.
Tips & Techniques
Engaging work that provides meaning to yourself and others. Partake in activities that challenge your creativity and make you feel productive, whether or not you get paid for them. Some ideas are gardening, drawing, writing, playing an instrument, or building something in your workshop.
Relationships. Spending quality time where you give of yourself to people who matter to you, whether they’re friends, grandkids, or elderly relatives, can support both your health and theirs, while also providing a sense of purpose.
Caring for a pet. Yes, pets are a responsibility, but caring for one makes you feel needed and loved. There’s no love quite as unconditional as the love a pet can give. Animals can also get you out of the house for exercise and expose you to new people and places.
Volunteering. The meaning and purpose derived from helping others or the community can enrich and expand your life—and make you happier. There’s no limit to the individual and group volunteer opportunities you can explore. Schools, churches, nonprofits, and charitable organizations of all sorts depend on volunteers for their survival.
Mental Health Matters Challenge
Make your Meaning
Step 1: Complete the Help Yourself, Help Others self-assessment.
The assessment is completely anonymous and is for your information only to identify areas or techniques to use to strengthen your mental health.
Step 2: Develop a SMART goal. Once you have completed the assessment, select an area of growth you would like to develop and create a SMART goal that is:
Specific (simple, sensible, significant).
Measurable (meaningful, motivating).
Relevant (reasonable, realistic, results-based).
Time-bound (time-based, time-limited, timely).