In looking at what makes people happier, the team of psychologists who designed the PERMA model found that there was another area that was trending. That was to know that you have a sense of value or worth
"belonging and/or serving something greater than ourselves. Having a purpose in life helps individuals focus on what is really important in the face of significant challenge or adversity."
If you have been part of our mentoring training, you know we cover this topic when we look at Self Esteem and the Adolescent Brain.
As your brain goes through its makeover, we can feel confused about who we are, and what we want out of life. We begin as teens to question if we really do like the things we like, or want to do the things we are doing. It can be a confusing time and we can struggle to find meaning.
If you have been bought up in a household or community where there has been a strong emphasis on your future profession, politics/causes, hobbies, or religious/spiritual belief. We may start to pull away from these, trying to work them out for ourselves.
Does this mean then, as teenagers we can't be happy
Absolutely not! Finding meaning and purpose is exactly what this time is for! The brain is primed for your to try new things, draw you into independent thought and work out who you are becoming.
It's a journey, it doesn't have to be rushed, labeled, or forced
You will fail at some times, yet you will also succeed
You may change your mind 100 times (and that's ok)
We are here to help you find your vibe!
How can I find meaning?
Three circles Activity
- Draw three circles one labelled 'PASSION' one labelled 'ANGER' and one labelled 'SKILL'
- Fill each circle, try and get at least 5 things in each that describe what you are passionate about (care about) what you get angry about and what your skills are
- Take a look at each circle of words, does anything connect them (you can send us photos of them if you want help)
- Write down the word that connects them and create a sentence of I am passionate about.... and so get angry about.... and bring change by....
- Mine would be I am passionate about people being able to be fully themselves and so I get angry about oppression and so I look to change the world using my skills of communication, connection and performance.
Another way to find meaning is to go back to the core of us. These are our values, they are often only changed by a traumatic or large event. They are shaped by our experiences, community and self belief. You can find a list here
- Try and find 10 values that you think fit you
- Cut it down to 5 you feel strongly about
- Now find your three ride-or-die values! Tell us on Instagram when you've found them
It can be helpful to think ahead to the future version of you
- Who do you want to be
- How do you want to be
- What would you like to have
- What would you like to do
You can use Vision Board apps, Pinterest, Canva or the retro rip-and-stick of magazines! We'd love to see what you produce
Make a list of all the things you have ever enjoyed doing (regardless of budget, means, or current likability) Look for ways to try these things again (almost like an experiment!) We saw this in lockdown where suddenly lots of people rediscovered sports, activities or creative hobbies again
Try new, creative activities to find things you connect with. Perhaps there is something a friend or another family member would try out (although when I did this I tried Unicycle Hockey...never again!!)
Create community - are there people with the same passions and skills, or even those who would benefit from your passions and skills? How could you safely connect with them?
Lastly - whether or not you are alike, spending time with people you care about and who care about you will not only give you a rush of oxytocin (happy chemicals) but also help you see that you have amazing worth and value and purpose.