Four Ways to Fill Your Family with Meaning
Feel happiness. Experience less stress, less anxiety, and less depression. Discover more control in your life. Sound good? Research suggests you can experience these things by adding meaning to your life. When we become part of something bigger than ourselves we find meaning…and meaning contributes to greater happiness. Specifically, adding meaning to our lives, becoming part of something bigger than ourselves:
- Provides a framework for our goals. Being part of something bigger provides us with deeper values to live by and higher goals to pursue.
- Serves as a compass in our lives. Meaning gives us direction and consistently guides us through the storms and waves of life.
- Comforts us. Knowing events in our life, good and bad, ultimately work for good in the hands of Someone larger than us provides us a sense of comfort in times of trouble and stress.
- Connects us. Becoming a part of something bigger than ourselves informs us that we are not alone. Other people are “in this” with us. Other people share the greater meaning with us. Together, we support one another and help one another carry any burdens that arise.
Meaning provides us a framework, a compass, comfort, and connection. This adds up to greater happiness, not just for you but your whole family. That’s right: you can increase happiness in your family by infusing your family life with meaning. Here are four ways to get started.
- Practice kindness. Show kindness to your family every day. Model kindness to those in your community. Find ways to practice kindness as a family, like baking cookies for an elderly person or shoveling the driveway of a neighbor. Make kindness a way of life for you and your family.
- Choose a volunteer activity to become involved in as a family. You might volunteer to help your church, a local food kitchen, your local school, your community park, or an organization like Habitat for Humanity. The possibilities are limitless. Gather your family and find a way for your family to help others.
- Acknowledge the transcendent. Gather your family and enjoy the sunset. Stand in awe before the majesty of nature…together. Talk about the beauty of art and music, the vastness of space, the complexity of the human body…. Share whatever you find mysterious, boundless, or awesome with your family so you can stand in wonderment and realize that you are part of something bigger.
- Practice your faith as a family. Pray together. Worship together. Share new insights with one another. Encourage. Support. Acknowledge God’s work in your life and in your family’s life. Rejoice together in the meaning your faith adds to your family.
Engage in these four practices with your family and you will find your family becoming part of something bigger. Your family will perceive more meaning in your individual and family lives. Your family will experience greater happiness!