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Emotionally Extreme Experiences, Not Just Positive or Negative Experiences, Are More Meaningful in Life

The Synergy Of Good And Bad

Intense experiences of both kinds, good and bad, are helping build meaning in life to the same degree, and are complementing each other, according to research.

If a person has mostly good experiences, or mostly bad ones, his life cycle, in a way, is still incomplete. To truly get the meaning of life, both negative and positive life experiences are required.

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Emotionally Extreme Experiences, Not Just Positive or Negative Experiences, Are More Meaningful in Life

Emotionally Extreme Experiences, Not Just Positive or Negative Experiences, Are More Meaningful in Life

https://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/emotionally-extreme-experiences-not-just-positive-or-negative-experiences-are-more-meaningful-in-life/

blogs.scientificamerican.com

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Key Ideas

The Basic Error Of Science

... has always been viewing of the subject or object in isolation. In most fields of study, things are treated as separate from each other. Objects are dissected and analysed by breaking them down to atomic levels. For Example, the mind is treated as separate from the body.

This ‘Divide and Rule’ is visible in the research of emotional valence, where positive experiences are pitted against the negative experiences, with an inherent bias.

The Dual Nature Of Reality

These new findings on the synergy of good and bad experiences in our lives go against our usual ways of ‘compartmentalized’ thinking and give us a glimpse of the integrated and dual nature of reality.

They also explains why we seek out unpleasant, or even dangerous experiences, like watching horror movies, going on thrilling rides which can be risky, or just being exhausted.

Perspective On Suffering

Suffering and sadness are necessary for a wholesome life, along with positive experiences.

While practicing being in the present can help us reduce anxiety and depression, we need the ‘counterbalance’ of the other extreme emotions to feel alive.

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SIMILAR ARTICLES & IDEAS:

Two central motivations in life: happiness and meaning
Two central motivations in life: happiness and meaning

Happiness and meaning are two main motivations in life. Research suggests that happiness and meaning are strongly correlated and often feed off each other.

Describing happiness and meaning
  • Happiness has more to do with getting what you want and feeling good.
  • Meaning has two major components: The cognitive processing component involves making sense of your experiences. The purpose component is motivational and consists of pursuing long-term goals that reflect one's identity. Meaning is related to activities such as developing and expressing the self, and consciously integrating one's past, present, and future experiences.
How to create meaning

While happiness satisfies the moment, avoiding negative thoughts and feelings may interfere with your personal development. Personal development relies on experiencing both positive and negative emotions. In contrast, two measures of meaning were positively associated with adaptation:

  • Cognitive processing. It is strongly related to grit (passion and perseverance).
  • Self-distancing. It is strongly related to gratitude and well-being. It seems that creating meaning is adaptive if one can maintain a third-person perspective of detachment.

Ultimately, well-being consists of both happiness and meaning. People are happiest when they pursue meaningful activities.

Happiness
Happiness

Happiness is when a person feels satisfaction, contentment, and elation in their life. It is a fulfilling feeling to have despite it having varying definitions.

The term is...

The two fundamental components of 'happiness'
  1. Emotional balance - We all experience positive and negative feelings from time to time. How one handles their emotional state is crucial as to how they radiate this energy towards everything they have going on in their life;
  2. Life satisfaction - People experience emotions differently whenever an event occurs in their lives. How you feel about your own life - from your relationships to personal achievements - matter to your happiness.
Measuring your happiness

Here are questions you should ask yourself to know if you are happy:

  • Do you feel like you have the life you want? Are you working towards the life that you want?
  • Does your environment bring you peace of mind?
  • Have you accomplished the things you want in your life? Are these goals important to you?
  • Are you content as you are right now? What are the things you're doing that is contributing to your happiness?
  • Have you stopped and wondered if you feel more positively than you were before?

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Meaning in Life
  • Many of us struggle with finding meaning, as we are busy with our daily work and distractions.
  • Meaning in life provides us with the purpose of getting up daily, energized and pepped up...
Meaningful Work

21–35% of our life is spent at work, making it a crucial part of our lives to spend at something we find meaning in.

Meaningful work should be:

  • Motivating and purposeful.
  • Should be coherent and make some sense.
  • Should be significant.
Connected with a Purpose

Meaningful work is when we feel a genuine connection with what we do for a living and our larger spectrum of life.

It is motivating, creates deep relationships and helps others.

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