One of the most difficult aspects of depression is the feeling that life isn’t worth living. That sense of hopelessness and helplessness can be debilitating and soul destroying. The future can look very bleak if life feels pointless.
Not having a sense of purpose is just one of the main symptoms of depression. Other symptoms include:
- Feeling sad or low.
- Loss of interest in things you used to enjoy.
- Changes in appetite (losing or gaining weight).
- Trouble sleeping or sleeping too much.
- Loss of energy or feeling fatigued.
- Feeling worthless or guilty
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
- Movements/speech becoming slower.
You can feel as though you are meaningless and empty, and you may withdraw from social environments for fear of becoming a burden to friends and loved ones. The woes of the world seem to be weighing on your shoulders. It can take all your efforts just to survive the day.
Yet research has shown that a sense of purpose can help lift you out of survival mode and into living your life again. A sense of purpose is having something so meaningful in life that it lifts you to greater levels of achievement and accomplishment. In short, it’s having something to believe in. A sense of purpose brings hope. It helps you make decisions. It gives you something to live for. Studies also show that having a sense of purpose can boost your emotional resilience and enable you to cope better with life’s stressors.
How to regain a sense of purpose in life
Define your core values. What do you truly believe in? What would you never compromise on? Identifying what your core values are is one of the first steps to aligning yourself with a sense of purpose and setting goals for your life.
Do something creative. You don’t have to be a great painter or writer to be creative. Yet having a creative project – something you’re invested in completing – can help with a sense of purpose. It may be doing a jigsaw, taking up cross-stitch, painting your bedroom, or pruning your roses. A creative project gives you something to live for.
Move around. Loss of energy is a common symptom of depression. Moving around, even a gentle walk, can help shake up that energy and release some of the fog in your brain.
Speak to a therapist. If all of the above just feels too much, then talking to a professional may help you get back on track. Counselling and psychotherapy can help you explore the causes and symptoms of depression, and can help you identify ways to re-enter your life in a way that helps you feel supported and understood. : Talking therapy is a way to hear your thoughts out loud, which can help you to regain a sense of purpose.
If you are struggling with depression and could benefit from speaking to someone, our team of therapists will be able to help. To make an appointment, email [email protected] or call 020 8673 4545.