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Sunday, June 28, 2009

Living a Meaningful Life

Most of us like to feel that our lives have purpose and meaning.   Living from day to day without feeling that we have a purpose in our life can make us feel like we're in a rut. Although we might want to feel that we have meaning in our lives, at times, it can be a challenge discovering what that purpose might be.

Living a Meaningful Life

People Find Meaning in Many Different Ways
Many people find meaning in their lives through their spirituality, either through organized religion or through their own personal sense of spirituality. Other people find meaning in volunteering and helping others.

Being at a Crossroad in Life
Other people might be at a crossroad in their lives. Maybe they had a vocation or they felt they had a special purpose, but their circumstances have changed and they are now seeking a different purpose. If they found meaning in their work and they lost their job, they now find themselves asking themselves what they would like to do next that would be meaningful. Or, for a parent who raised children who are now grown and independent, they might find themselves questioning what they will do with the rest of their lives. For other people, it's the realization that they have lived their lives doing what other people (maybe their parents or their spouses) expected of them rather than asking themselves what they wanted to do in life. Or, maybe what was once satisfying is no longer satisfying. There are so many reasons why you might find yourself at this crossroad.

Keeping an Open Mind
If you can maintain an open and positive attitude, you're more likely to benefit from this time of self discovery. Allow yourself to think outside the box. One way to explore this question is to give yourself the time and the privacy you need to explore your options.

With paper and pen in hand (or on computer), write down "What I would like to do to have a meaningful life." Then, give yourself 15 mins. and brainstorm. Write whatever comes to mind, no matter how outrageous it might be. No one else will see this list. Sometimes, even the most unlikely items will be a signal to you as to what direction you'd like your life to take.

If you get stuck and can't think of anything else, write down the last thing you wrote until the next idea comes to mind. After 15 mins., stop and review what you've written. If nothing else. this exercise usually frees up your mind and helps to deal with the inner critic that keeps telling you, "You're too old to change" or "You'll never be able to do that."

Practice doing the brainstorming exercise a few times a week and see what you come up with. Chances are that you'll begin to get a sense of what you'd like to see more of in your life. Remember that this is a process and it's not supposed to be perfect.

Sometimes, it's helpful to consult with a therapist who can assist you through this process of self discovery and help you make it fun and rewarding.

I am a NYC psychotherapist, hypnotherapist and EMDR therapist and I work with individual adults and couples.

To find out more about me, you can visit my website:  Josephine Ferraro, LCSW - NYC Psychotherapist

To set a consultation, call me at (212) 726-1006 or email me: josephineolivia@aol.com.

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