Evidence That It Works
A study of almost 2,000 Romanian adolescents found that having a sense of meaning in life both increases psychological well-being and protects teens from risky behavior, such as drug and alcohol use, sexual activity, and unhealthy exercise and eating habits.
Why Does It Matter?
Having meaning in life means that one’s life makes sense and matters — relationships, spirituality, attaining goals, and/or having a purpose (i.e., engaging in something larger than oneself) can all contribute to one’s sense of meaning. Like purpose, meaning in life is associated with a myriad of health and psychological benefits.
While meaning and purpose are separate constructs in research, scientists have found that they can inform one another. For example, knowing where one finds meaning in life can give clues as to how a person might use their gifts to make a positive contribution to the world (purpose). Giving students opportunities to reflect on both meaning and purpose sets them on the path to creating thriving and fulfilling lives.