Meaning, purpose and a mission for your life, and why these things matter!

Do you feel that your life has direction and meaning? Is there something you feel driven to do in this world? Beneath all of our conditioning, and "taming" throughout our upbringing? In this post I talk about the importance of meaning and purpose in our lives. I delve into Johann Hari's theory of disconnection from work as a potential root cause of depression, and I also share useful questions to ask yourself to help clarify your purpose and meaning in life.
mission for your life

A mission for your life – that almost sounds a bit woo-woo, doesn’t it? And yet the more I work with clients the more I realise just how important a mission for your life is in order to thrive in life and feel happy. And I notice it in my own life too. 

But let’s start with a quick story.

What is it that creates excitement in you?

I felt inspired to write this post after a particular client session that I just had. My client and I were focusing on the various elements that help her to feel better physically and mentally. We then worked out a plan to make sure that she’d actually do these things. (Because simply knowing how good certain habits are is definitely not the same as actually doing them, is it!?)

Throughout our session I could really sense the tiredness in her. The frustration, the sadness, the fatigue and just this overall sense of “I am so fed up of feeling like this”.

But somehow towards the end we started talking about her work, and more specifically about the things that she really wants to be doing. And I really mean that: The things, deep down, that she really wants to be doing. 

And I wish I could have recorded the session to share the change in her with you as she started telling me about this. Her whole energy changed: Her tone of voice, her facial expression and the way she sat on the sofa. She started talking faster, sat more upright, had a big smile on her face and I could literally feel the excitement and passion pouring out of her – even via a video consultation! 

So after we talked more about her work and her passion, I pointed out this change in her energy. How she seemed everything but excited and full of life just half an hour ago, and how she was now speaking with so much passion and clarity. 

She noticed it herself and reported feeling lighter and better after this conversation about her work. 

It just shows how important it is to have a sense of purpose and meaning. An overarching goal and mission for your life. 

Depression as a disconnection from meaningful work

As journalist Johann Hari described in his book “Lost Connections: Uncovering the Real Causes of Depression – and the Unexpected Solutions”, depression can sometimes result from disconnection from meaningful work. 

It’s very difficult if your work doesn’t fill you with a sense of meaning. When you feel undervalued, disempowered and unable to make a difference. When your work piles up and you feel that you’ll never be able to get on top of things. And particularly when your work doesn’t align with your values.

What can easily happen then is that you come home at the end of your day and you feel completely drained and tired. Even if you’d say that your work isn’t particularly demanding on your brain or muscle power. And because you feel drained and exhausted, you are then more likely to avoid meaningful activities and interactions with other people. You are also more likely to eat foods that are high in sugar and processed ingredients but low in nutrients. 

Disconnection from meaningful work can create a huge downward spiral. And that was something that happened in my own life, back when I was suffering from depression. If you want to find out more about my own journey of overcoming depression, you can listen to this podcast episode here to do so. But for me, ultimately signing up to my diploma in Nutritional Therapy hugely helped me to find that sense of meaning and purpose again.

What was the most interesting activity to you as a child?

Questions to ask yourself to find that sense of meaning and purpose

It’s difficult writing this post when you consider all the various circumstances that different people find themselves in. There are some that are unemployed and would be happy with any kind of work just to pay the bills. There are those who, for various reasons, lack the freedom to be able to do the work they love. There are those who have absolutely no clue what it is they want to be doing. 

There are lots of different reasons why someone might be feeling disconnected from their work. And of course you’re also up against how modern society is structured. 

But fundamentally, here are some questions that can be so, so helpful to ask yourself for greater purpose and meaning in your life. And having a kind of mission for your life can of course be something that exists outside of work for you. Something that you do in your free time, as part of a hobby or volunteer role. 

And none of this is intended to make you think that you need to change jobs if it’s not fulfilling you 100%. Sometimes it can be about how work and approach your job. And to see whether you can create a little more of that spark and joy for life, whether within your work or outside of it.

“I’ve come to believe that each of us has a personal calling that’s as unique as a fingerprint – and that the best way to succeed is to discover what you love and then find a way to offer it to others in the form of service, working hard, and also allowing the energy of the universe to lead you. ”
― Oprah Winfrey

My mission in my life is to help other women improve their wellbeing by taking a holistic and integrative approach to mental health. It’s the number one topic I could always think, read and talk about. The one thing I don’t ever want to stop learning about. 

If you want to explore working with me, head here for more information and simply get in touch by emailing me at claudia@claudiasmithwellbeing.com. I would feel honoured to be able to help you on your journey to better mental health! 

mission in your life

Welcome to the blog

I’m Claudia Smith and I help women get to better mental health naturally. Having overcome depression once myself, I am a qualified nutritionist, coach and practice functional medicine.

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