Psychology And The Meaning In Life: Are They Linked Together? – OpEd


By Saleh Al-Alaiyan

Life should have meaning and purpose which has been related both to physical and psychological health. In addition, psychological attention to the concepts of purpose and meaning in life has its roots in the philosophical work of many psychologists.

Victor Frankl observed that life has meaning under all conditions, and that it is psychologically damaging when a person’s search for meaning is blocked. In a review of work on the construct, Yalom (1980; in Zika & Chamberlain, 1992) found that a lack of meaning in life was associated with psychopathology, while a life that has value was associated with strong religious beliefs, membership in groups, dedication to a cause, life principles and clear goals. Some authors suggested that sources of personal meaning influence the way we deal and cope with stress.

The value of a life is related to both presence of well-being and absence of mental illness, so when things are going well and people are enjoying pleasant, engaging, and successful activities, positive emotions are probably sufficient to sustain a high level of personal well-being.

A person cannot be considered to have achieved well-being if he or she does not feel like they’re life has meaning or purpose (Ryff & Singer, 1998).

It is true that the meaning of life has been demonstrated to relate consistently to a wide variety of psychological variables, including life satisfaction affect balance, depression, morale, happiness, and self-esteem. Interestingly, it has been found that religiousness and prayer accomplishment were associated with greater life satisfaction.

Moreover, a life that matters holds value, conceptually connecting meaning with well-being variables like life satisfaction and self-esteem.

Thus, failure to develop the sense that one’s life matters, or losing that perspective, might play a role in the experience of psychological distress.

This life matters starts as a small circle that expands with time and gaining more experiences to include romantic partners, family and friends, neighborhood, community, social causes, religious movements and every day life issues.

It does not stay at this level, but it moves outside these circles to include the sense of spiritual connectedness. Studies have found that people who have devoted their lives to their religious beliefs also tend to report greater meaning in their lives than people who have not.

Finally, I hope that I was able to explain, in brief, the psychological features of the meaning in life to identify implications for well-being, psychological distress and spirituality.

Arab News

Arab News is Saudi Arabia's first English-language newspaper. It was founded in 1975 by Hisham and Mohammed Ali Hafiz. Today, it is one of 29 publications produced by Saudi Research & Publishing Company (SRPC), a subsidiary of Saudi Research & Marketing Group (SRMG).

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