Next, we can take time to consider who and what give us a sense of meaning and purpose. In his classic work, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” Frankl posited that striving to find meaning in one’s life is the primary motivational force in humans. Happiness is not something to be sought as an end in itself, but is the result of a purpose-filled existence. For Frankl, meaning is discovered in three primary ways: in creating a work or doing a good deed; in experiencing something beautiful or encountering a loved one; and in the attitude we have amid unavoidable suffering.
Although crafted in a very different historical context, Frankl’s prescriptions offer a path forward to greater interior peace during this time of isolation and uncertainty. Maybe we take up that artistic endeavor that has been sitting in the corner for months. Perhaps we commit to eating dinner together as a family, take walks to hunt for fall leaves, begin a gratitude journal, learn to play an instrument, bake a pie for an elderly neighbor, or join a book club. Maybe we seek out a new church community (online or in-person), revive our prayer life or simply contemplate our spirituality. Initiatives like these, done consistently, can improve our mood and sense of purpose, and empower us to discover the best version of ourselves.
Some may need more help to restore a sense of “normality” in these abnormal times. Persistent symptoms of anxiety, sadness, inability to concentrate, loss of pleasure, or difficulty eating and sleeping that interfere with your ability to function may suggest a need for professional help. Locate a therapist in your area through online search engines like Psychology Today. If you have thoughts of harming yourself, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 800/273-TALK (8255).