Are Meaningful Daily Activities Linked to Well-Being?

Are Meaningful Daily Activities Linked to Well-Being?

via Psychology Today by Arash Emamzadeh

Well-being is an important and popular topic; indeed, I have previously written about various ways to promote well-being—purchasing experiences vs. things, nurturing character strengths, not thinking of time as money, etc.

Another way to achieve well-being is to engage in meaningful activities. In today’s post, I review an article published in the November-December 2020 issue of The Journal of Positive Psychology, in which Hooker and colleagues discuss the importance of meaningful activities for mental health and psychological well-being.

Hedonism and eudaimonia

Before discussing the study, let me quickly describe two common paths to psychological well-being: Living a happy life and living a meaningful life.

  • Happy life: A pleasurable life of safety, security, and comfort.
  • Meaningful life: A life of self-actualization and pursuit of worthy goals.

Happiness, joy, and satisfaction of desires, according to philosophers called hedonists, promote well-being and the good life. Hedonists believe what makes life worth living is pleasure (e.g., food, drink, sex).

In contrast, those who believe in the second concept of well-being (eudaimonia), claim the path to the good life involves satisfaction of psychological needs (especially autonomy, competence, and relatedness), unlocking and realizing one’s potential, and the pursuit of worthy goals. These philosophers claim virtuous activity (e.g., cultivating self-control, courage, generosity) and self-actualization (being the best you can be) are what make life worth living.

For this second group, much remains unanswered regarding how we can live a meaningful life. For instance, should we volunteer every day in order to feel our lives are meaningful? Or is it possible to derive meaning from routine daily activities? And how does engaging in meaningful activities affect other outcomes, like happiness and mood?

To answer these questions, let us turn to the study by Hooker et al…

… keep reading the full & original article HERE