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The Meaningful Life

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The more meaning you have in your life, the more you will find you remember. If you have a life where every day is an adventure, where every day brings new excitement, then you will fill your brain with countless detailed memories.

Finding more meaning in your life can make you immortal.

Okay, that’s a little bit of an exaggeration…

It can make you seemingly live for MUCH longer.

No seriously.

I want you to think back over the past few weeks and months. What is it that you have achieved? What is it that you have done? What are your fondest memories?

Or how about this: just what did you have for dinner last Tuesday?

Hmm… can’t remember right?

Okay, well how about this: what did you watch on TV? What happened in that show?

What time did you get home? Did you have any interesting conversations that day?

Chances are, you’re drawing blanks at this point. Chances are that you don’t know what you did because you can’t remember.

And that’s because what you did had no meaning.

When you go through the same routines every day, when you do the same things… your life doesn’t have much meaning or much impact. Why would you remember a night where you watched the same show and ate the same thing that you do every night? It all blends into one.

And there’s actually a logical reason why all this happens.

meaningful

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What is The Meaning of our Chemistry in all this?

Remember that dopamine that is released when our brains think we’re doing something highly important? Well, that very same chemical is also partly responsible for encouraging the formation of memories.

More specifically, an increase in dopamine is correlated with an increase in BDNF – Brain Derived Neurotrophic Factor. This in turn is responsible for increasing our ‘brain plasticity’, which in short means that our neurons form more connections and we gain new knowledge and memories.

When nothing important or exciting happens, no new connections are formed. When something important happens, far more connections are formed.

And the most extreme example of this is the ‘Flashbulb Memory’. A flashbulb memory is a phenomenon that is studied in neuroscience. It occurs when something of seemingly great importance happens and it causes us to form an incredibly vivid and detailed memory.

Let me ask you this: where were you when you learned of the terrorist attacks on 9/11?

Or if you’re in the UK, where were you when you heard that Diana had died?

Younger than that? Okay, then when were you when you learned that Michael Jackson passed away?

Personal events are far more impactful still: you probably have a precise and detailed picture of where you were when you learned your parents died, when you proposed/were proposed to, when your children were born.

This is the result of a huge release of neurochemicals.

Important Things make life Meaningful and worth to remember

And why does it happen? Because those events are meaningful and our brains recognize the need to store more information about those events.

So, the more meaning you have in your life, the more you will find you remember. If you have a life where every day is an adventure, where every day brings new excitement, then you will fill your brain with countless detailed memories.

And when you look back over your recent weeks and years they will seem full and nearly endless.

Our perception of time is entirely reliant on our memories. That’s why a day can seem longer when you do lots of things.

So, the more you do, the more memories you have, the longer your life will have seemed to be! In that way, by putting life in your years, you LITERALLY put years in your life.

If you spend every day doing the same thing, you’ll look back on your life and have no new memories, no excitement. It will all blur into one nothingness and your life will seem to move faster, to be shorter.

So, is it any wonder that a life without meaning leads to depression and that feeling of claustrophobia and funk?

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