Routine can bring a sense of meaning in life

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Having a settled and routined life can bring a sense of meaning Comments and Musings

I like things to go the way that I expect them to – most of the time anyway. A predictable life with routine and habits means I don’t have to think about every little thing that I do. What I hadn’t appreciated until recently was how these routines help me find more meaning in my life. Not in the sense of helping me find the “Meaning OF life” – more the sense of finding life to be meaningful and that it makes sense.

Some people will say that they don’t have the time and space to think about purpose and meaning. That it is only people who have the time to reflect and think that can find meaning in their life. Maybe it’s only those people who have it all together who could possibly have achieved a purposeful life.

However, there is research that points to how everyday routines can really help life feel pretty meaningful [1]. The researchers found that most of the study participants did report experiencing meaning in their life and that it came from many of the day to day things that they’re involved in. In fact, the presence of a sense of routine and predictability can itself be a source of meaning for many people.

Photo by Markus Spiske - routine, purpose, meaning
Photo by Markus Spiske on Unsplash

The study also showed that being in a good mood was also correlated with finding meaning in life. Even for people who didn’t have other factors contributing to a sense of meaning and purpose, a positive mood was enough to have people feeling meaningful.

So, the little things in life that we may skip over and not think are meaningful, may actually be contributing to a sense of meaning. I suspect that if I am more mindful of these everyday routines and practices I may be reminded daily of how meaningful my life is.


[1] L. A. King, S. J. Heintzelman, and S. J. Ward, Beyond the Search for Meaning: A Contemporary Science of the Experience of Meaning in Life, Current Directions in Psychological Science, vol. 25, no. 4. SAGE Publishing, pp. 211216, Aug. 01, 2016. doi: 10.1177/0963721416656354.

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