Make It Meaningful

Living a life of purpose might be the ideal, but how to do it isn't always clear.

Photograph by Amy Covington/Stocky United

Purpose isn’t always obvious as we go through our day. In fact, the routine of daily life sometimes feels like the antithesis of meaning. That’s where intention comes in, says Parneet Pal of Wisdom Labs. “[It] can help you align your conscious thinking with a primal emotional drive…like reward, connection, purpose, self-identity and core values.”Upon rising, before you do anything else, try this:

Sit up in bed or in a nearby chair. Close your eyes and connect with the sensations of your seated body.Take three long, deep breaths. Then let your breath settle into its own rhythm.Think about the people and activities you will face today. Ask yourself:How might I show up to have the best impact?What quality of mind do I want to strengthen?In difficult moments, how might I be more compassionate?Set an intention for the day. Then, pause to revisit your intention throughout the day. Over time, you might notice how the quality of your communications, relationships, and sense of purpose shifts. 2. PICK A PILLAR

Psychologist and The Power of Meaning author Emily Esfahani Smith spent five years researching what constitutes a meaningful life. Strengthening even one of the resulting “four pillars” will…

Subscribe for unlimited access to

  • NEW! Unlimited access to our premium Mindful Meditations
  • Full access to every story on
  • Print magazine and mobile app
  • Complete PDF library of Mindful magazine

Already a digital subscriber?
Log in to access this article