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#21DaysOfMeaning – Turning Knowledge about Meaning into a Meaningful Life

Let me tell you a secret: I’m a nerd by nature and I love facts. Here are two facts that I consider important for all of us.

Number one: people who experience a strong sense of meaning in their life are healthier, have a higher socioeconomic status, possess a greater life satisfaction, and have a reduced risk to become ill. Number two: the worldwide, an increasing number of people suffer from depression and absent days at work are more and more often caused by psychological illnesses.

These two facts don’t go well together.

When I realized this contradiction, I felt challenged. Being a therapist for meaning-centered psychotherapy I was more than happy, even relieved, that science backs the concepts of logotherapy that were developed by Viktor Frankl some 80 years ago. Yet, with my analytical mind I was (and still am) shocked by the numbers that clearly illustrate the gap between knowing the facts and living our lives accordingly.

I felt motivated to better explore this issue and find ways to turn facts and figures about the effects of meaning in our life into really living a meaningful life. With my background in business, design and logotherapy & existential analysis, I wanted to develop at least one approach to tackle the challenge

That’s, how the idea of #21DaysOfMeaning started. Let me tell you about it.

So let’s start with the good news around the experience of meaning. There is great scientific research around it. For example, one scientific study shows that having identified a purpose in life is associated with greater life satisfaction at these three stages of life. Also, a meta-study observed that possessing a high sense of purpose in life is associated with a decreased risk for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular events. Moreover, strong associations with low levels of depressive symptoms and psychological well-being were found in another study.

Having said (or rather written) this, the following is also true. Worldwide, numbers of depression are increasing, including its consequences such as burn-out or even suicide. As a society, we are confronted with the following challenges on a social, economic and individual level: WHO reports state that approximately 280 mio. people worldwide suffer from depression. In Germany alone, almost 20% of employees’ absent days are caused by psychological illnesses – increasing tendency.

Until today, I’m still feeling the urge to build a bridge that allows people to go from merely knowing to consciously acting.

I felt the need to create something that would inspire especially young people to get in touch with big issues like meaning in life and values – in a lighter, more joyful way. Given my interdisciplinary background I felt the need to develop a concept that is based on logotherapy & existential analysis, but is also enriched and complemented by scientific facts. I felt the need to provide more information and especially inspiration to understand that mental health should be the base for a good lifestyle.

In short, I felt the need to develop what is now titled #21DaysOfMeaning: an inspirational, yet well-grounded approach to experience less stress, more meaning in everyday life. This is what our challenge is about, but it’s so much more.

The three-week challenge includes daily impulses with hands-on practices that you can easily integrate into your life; on 21 different topics in the area of meaning, such as gratitude, values and the experience of awe; reflection questions and inspiring quotes from thought leaders and change agents to ignite new ideas; and a little deep dive every now and then related to science-based explanations on a theme, insights into logotherapy and existential analysis as well as book recommendations and further exercises.

While our society needs more knowledge and consciousness about a good way of living, #21DaysOfMeaning is a first step. It invites all participants to reflect on how they are currently living their life, focus on what they are enjoying most and build up habits that go way beyond three weeks. Let’s take this step together and turn our knowledge about meaning into living a meaningful life.

In a nutshell:

#21DaysOfMeaning is an online training to enhance mental health that enables people to discover more meaning in their life. As a user you receive daily impulses and practical exercises over the course of three weeks. This enables you not only to better unleash your own potential in everyday life, but also to reduce stress.

The first edition is delivered in the form of daily e-mail newsletters by MEANING + More. It kicks-off on November 15, 2021 and is completely free of charge.

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