Top of the list for living a meaningful daily life is being more mindful, according to occupational therapist Dr. Melanie Austin-McCain.
“Be present, smile, humble yourself, and acknowledge others.
With mindfulness, you’re really in the present and focusing on your senses and your experiences — what you are feeling, thinking, and doing.”
Healthy daily routines and long-term goals are so important for a meaningful life, Dr McCain says:
“Evidence shows that having a purpose in life is helpful in promoting health and preventing chronic disease.
It’s about finding out about who you are, the things you like do and that are meaningful for you and setting goals that align with those things.”
Here are the six other steps that Dr McCain recommends:
It’s not productive to set daily goals for meditation, according to Dr McCain.
Instead, it is better to set aside some time to simply sit quietly and review your goals for the day and think about your intentions.
• Read more about the benefits of meditation, including a quick-start guide on how to meditate.
Keep the mind and body active every day, says Dr McCain.
The benefits of exercise are well known, of course, but the mind needs stretching in just the same way.
Try new things from time-to-time and use new strategies to approach old problems.
Everyone should occasionally take a little time to take a broader view of their own life.
- Where am I going?
- Am I spending my time in the best way?
- What improvements could be made?
These sorts of ‘management’ sessions could include thinking about diet, exercise, relationships or anything else that is important to you.
Use a “future is mine” mindset, says Dr McCain.
Remind yourself of your own potential and that of others.
Try to find the happiness and joy in the things you do.
Part of this is acknowledging those who provide you support, Dr McCain says:
“Meaningfulness is more like gratitude — awareness and appreciation of the things around you.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
It is beneficial to take on a mentor in different areas of life, as well as being a mentor for others, says Dr McCain.