By Emily Brackman, PhD
At the one-year anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic, our inboxes and social media feeds are inundated with creative tips and tricks to improve our emotional well-being. Although there is light at the end of the tunnel, we continue to endure drastic changes to daily life.
While staying in touch through Zoom meetups or taking a relaxing bath certainly can help soothe the effects of mind-numbing work-from-home days and prolonged social isolation, sometimes these one-size-fits-all strategies simply do not do the trick.
If you find yourself anxious, depressed, or lost as we arrive at this anniversary – you are not alone. During times of prolonged uncertainty and constant change, it is remarkably human to at times feel less hopeful or excited about the future. You may find yourself asking, “What is the point of it all?”
Many of us are familiar with the terms “existential threat” and “existential crisis.” The events of the past year have led to questions about what it means to be self-assured and grounded in a world that often seems relentless and terrifying. If suffering is inescapable, what is the meaning of life?
This is a big question that can only be approached in a deeply personal way. In a world full of suffering, we must create our own personal sense of meaning and purpose. In quoting the 19th-Century existential German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche, the renowned psychiatrist and Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl reminds us that the person “who has a WHY to live for can bear with almost any HOW.”
At J&L Psychology, we believe that connecting with your sense of meaning in life can lead to flexible and creative actions that enhance your emotional well-being. Our clinicians will help you explore these questions as you develop a purposeful path forward in life.
If you are interested in beginning (or continuing) your search for personal meaning, we’ve put together a two-part guide with an accompanying free worksheet on how to start asking – and answering – why? What drives you to wake up each day and face the world?
You may choose to keep your answers private or use this guide to share insights with your partner, family, or friends. The point is to be curious with and about yourself. How might your answers in these two steps of discovering your Why? shift or shape your approach to daily life as we enter the second year of the pandemic?
Click here to download J&L Psychology’s free fillable worksheet: Finding Your Personal Meaning.
If you are curious to dive deeper, please check out more information about our practice’s approach to psychotherapy for Life Transitions, Trauma, and Self Development.