It's normal for everyone to wonder about their purpose. At times, however, you might question existence to the point where you wonder, "What is the point of life?" When such feelings are accompanied by feelings of hopelessness, helplessness, sadness, and disinterest, it might signify a mental health condition such asdepression.
If you're wondering if there is any purpose to life, remember that meaningfulness is different for each person. For some people, the purpose of life may be to make the world a better place. Others may believe that the point of life is to find and achieve personal fulfillment. And some may feel that the point of life is simply to enjoy it as much as possible.
Finding a sense of meaning in life can be difficult for anyone, but it can be particularly challenging when struggling with low mood and feelings of depression. If you find yourself struggling to make sense of your life and its purpose, it can be helpful to learn more about why you might feel this way and what you can do to bring a sense of meaning into your life.
What Is Nihilism?
Signs You Feel That Life Is Pointless
There are a number of signs that you might be struggling to see the point in life. Sometimes you might think "what's the point," but in other cases, these feelings can be less obvious:
- You might feel like nothing you do matters
- You may have stopped caring about the outcome of events
- Things that used to bring you joy may ring hollow or seem empty
- You might feel a sense ofhopelessness
- You might feel like none of your efforts will help you achieve your goals andaspirations
Why You Might Feel This Way
Everyone experiences times during their life when they feel like they aren't sure about their purpose. They might feel lost. They might not be sure about who they are. Or they might wonder if there is some greater meaning to life that they just can't seem to see.
There are many different reasons why someone might feel like they don't know the point of life.
- You might be going through something stressful or difficult that has you questioning what it all means.
- You might feel unfulfilled in your work, school, relationships, or hobbies and wonder if there's something more that you are missing.
- It might feel like your accomplishments don't really matter or don't have much of an impact.
- You might be feeling uncertain about what you should be doing with your life or what steps you need to take next.
- You might be struggling to set goals because you are not sure what you really want.
- You might have a mood disorder such as major depressive disorder,dysthymia, orbipolar disorder
Whatever the reason, it's important to remember that you're not alone in feeling this way. Taking steps to find what has meaning to you is an important first step.
Depression and Feelings of Pointlessness
People who have depression frequently experience a sense of pointlessness. For many, everything seems meaningless. After all, they might think, what is the point of life if you are not happy?
According to some research, losing this ability to see the point and purpose in life might actually play a part in the onset of depression. Recognizing this feeling and taking steps to combat it may help boost your mood and help you find greater sense of purpose.
In a 2019 study published in the journalQualitative Psychology, researchers found that many people living with depression felt that their depressive symptoms were related to changes in life that impacted the things they felt gave their life meaning.
As people lost their sense of purpose, they also began to experience other symptoms such as declining energy levels and physical activity. Despite adverse effects on their physical and psychological experiences, they remained focused on the threats to their goals, values, and purpose.
It seems that experiencing events that affect your sense of meaning is linked to the onset of depression. Whether this plays a role in creating depression is a question that researchers still need to explore in greater depth.
Many other factors are known to play a role in depression, including genetics, experiences, brain chemistry, and lifestyle factors. In many cases, negative life experiences may trigger the onset of depression in people who are predisposed to the condition.
If other symptoms accompany this sense of pointlessness, it might be a sign that what you are experiencing is actually depression. Other signs to watch for include:
- A persistent low mood marked by sadness or emptiness
- Feeling guilty, hopeless, or helpless
- Losing interest in things that you used to enjoy
- Fatigue or lack of energy
- Slowed physical activity
- Problems concentrating
- Sleep problems
- Changes in appetite or weight
- Physical complaints that don't have a clear cause
- Thoughts of death or suicide
If you are having suicidal thoughts, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988 for support and assistance from a trained counselor. If you or a loved one are in immediate danger, call 911.
For more mental health resources, see our National Helpline Database.
What Gives Life Meaning?
Many different things can give life meaning, and these vary from one person to the next. For some people, their relationships with family and friends are what give them a sense of meaning and purpose.
Others might find meaning in their work, hobbies, or creative passions. And for others, theirspiritualityor religious beliefs help them find the point in life.
What matters most is what you believe is most important to you. Everyone has different values and beliefs that give their life meaning. There is no wrong answer. What gives someone else a sense of meaning, purpose, and fulfillment might not be helpful for you—and that's fine.
If you're feeling lost or uncertain about what the point of life is, it might be helpful to think about what matters most to you. What are your values and beliefs? What do you enjoy doing? What makes you feel happy and fulfilled?
Spending time thinking about what matters most to you can help you find meaning in your life. And it can also help you figure out what you want to do with your time and energy.
Strategies That Can Help
Finding the point in life can be difficult when you are dealing with depression. It is important to treat yourself with kindness and compassion, even when feeling unmotivated orapathetic.
Even when you arestruggling to find interest in anything, you can take steps to help gradually improve your mood and find your sense of purpose. It takes time, support, and often professional interventions in the form of therapy and medication, but over time, you can rediscover your sense of meaning.
There are many different ways to find meaning in life. These strategies can help you find ways to make your life feel more meaningful.
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Volunteering your time to help others can be a source of purpose. Research has found that people who engage inaltruistic behaviors, which involve helping other people, feel more connected to other people and tend to have a stronger sense that their life has meaning.
Examples ofprosocial actionsyou might take include volunteering for a cause you are passionate about, donating money to charities, or offering to help a friend in need. Contributing to something that feels bigger than yourself can help you feel that your efforts have meaning and that you are making a difference in the world.
Spending time with friends and family. Healthy and supportive interpersonal relationships are essential for both physical and mental health. Research has found that these relationships help lower the risk of heart disease, help make us more resilient to stress, and decrease the risk of depression and suicide.
Having the support of friends, family, partners, and others can help you feel more motivated and inspired to care for yourself and take an interest in the world around you. And investing your energy in these relationships can be helpful when you are looking for meaning or a sense of purpose.
Pursuing Your Interests
Pursuing hobbies or activities you enjoy can be an effective way to bring meaning into your life. Focus on doing work that is meaningful to you, whether it involves pursuing a career that you love, developing your creative skills, or simply enjoying your leisurely pastimes.
Being creative can be a tool of self-expression and can help you develop new interests as well. Consider trying out a new hobby or activity that you haven't tried before, such as learning how to bake, paint, dance, or sculpt.
Building Your Awareness
Becoming more aware of your own thoughts, interests, and connections to the world around you can also be helpful when you are questioning the point of life.
Practicingmeditationormindfulnessare ways to become more aware of your own thoughts and how you feel in the present moment. Spend some time in reflection and focus on living in the present moment rather than worrying about the past or the future.
Practicinggratitude, or the act of feeling and expressing thankfulness for the things that you appreciate in life has been shown to have a range of benefits. It can strengthen relationships, improve happiness, boost resilience, and improve overall health.
It may also help you find greater meaningfulness in life. Research has shown that gratitude helps people feel more positive emotions. This may also encourage people to savor the moment and enjoy the pleasures that life can bring.
Making an effort to practice gratitude regularly, whether you take a few moments each day to mentally focus on grateful thoughts or you write in agratitude journal, can help you become more aware of the good things in life. Over time, this practice may help shift your perspective. Instead of feeling that life is pointless, you'll begin to see all of the simple joys that give life meaning.
Other Ways to Find Meaning In Life
- Connect with nature
- Try new things
- Embrace your imperfections
- Be yourself
- Accept that life is uncertain
- Savor the simple things in life
- Take time for yourself
- Find the humor in life and be willing to laugh at yourself
It is important to remember that it may take time and exploration before you find what works for you.
How to Get Help
Don't be afraid to reach out for help. If you're struggling to find meaning in your life, there are many resources and people who can help. Talk to a trusted friend or family member, a counselor or therapist, or a religious leader. They can offer support and guidance as you search for meaning.
Remember, everyone goes through periods where they question what the point of life is. But there is no right or wrong answer. What matters most is how you choose to live your life and what you believe is most important to you.
How to Find a Therapist
What is the reason for life? ›
All life forms have one essential purpose: survival. This is even more important than reproduction. After all, babies and grannies are alive but don't reproduce. To be alive is more than passing genes along.What is the point of life if you are not happy? ›
American philosopher and poet Ralph Waldo Emerson was right when he said, “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.”What's the point Quora? ›
The primary function of Quora works quite simply: You can search questions to get answers or provide answers to questions on the site.Do we have a purpose in life? ›
Everyone has a purpose, and while some people know their purpose right away, others take some time to figure it out. Also, while we tend to think of important people with significant purposes, our purpose might be negligible to the world but meaningful to us.What is the ultimate purpose of human existence? ›
Happiness is the goal of human existence because everything we do works up to it. Little goals we have ultimately are aimed toward our happiness and even when these smaller goals change over our lives, happiness as a goal remains.How do I know my purpose in life? ›
- Develop a growth mindset. Having a growth mindset is linked to having a sense of purpose. ...
- Create a personal vision statement. ...
- Give back. ...
- Practice gratitude. ...
- Turn your pain into purpose. ...
- Explore your passions. ...
- Be part of a community. ...
- Spend time with people who inspire you.
It makes everyone around us better. The process that makes it happen feels almost magical. You won't believe it is possible until you see it for yourself — when you make your life meaningful, the meaning rubs off on everyone you love and they make everyone in their life better, and so on.Is life supposed to be happy? ›
It's worth remembering, then, that we are not designed to be consistently happy. Instead, we are designed to survive and reproduce. These are difficult tasks, so we are meant to struggle and strive, seek gratification and safety, fight off threats and avoid pain.What is the definition of life? ›
: the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body. : a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings. : an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism (see metabolism sense 1), growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction.What is something that most people learn only after it's too late? ›
People are too afraid to take on an unfamiliar path or to try something new because they fear change. As a result, there is not any experience gained and we miss what could be a stepping stone that will take us to a better living situation. This is often one of the lessons in life people realize way too late.
Is it possible to have no purpose in life? ›
If you feel like your life has no meaning and direction, you may be struggling with a lack of purpose. Lack of purpose can affect all aspects of your life, and can cause you to ruminate on anxious thoughts that cause you distress.What is God's purpose in my life? ›
God's grand purpose for the world to come, then, is in the process of coming into being in the present through the redeeming and restoring work of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In Christ, and by the transformative power of the Holy Spirit, God is at work preparing a people to populate His new world.What is the highest goal of life? ›
So, achieving happiness can be said to be the ultimate goal in life. No matter what we want to do or pursue, happiness seems to be the most significant factor in why we do things. However, there is some problem when we keep attaching happiness to a future obtainable state, object, or event.What are the 3 things you need in life? ›
- Someone to love.
- Something to do.
- Something to look forward to.
Simple living doesn't just feel good. Simple living is actually good for you. From making it easier to rest at night to lowering your blood pressure, there are quite a few health-related benefits associated with living a simple life.How much is the average life worth? ›
In Western countries and other liberal democracies, estimates for the value of a statistical life typically range from US$1 million—US$10 million; for example, the United States FEMA estimated the value of a statistical life at US$7.5 million in 2020.Does living ever get easier? ›
Despite our youthful pessimism about growing older, a mounting body of scientific evidence shows that, in many ways, life improves with age. We become happier and less anxious, more adaptive and resilient. We deepen our friendships and expertise, and shift our focus to the positive over the negative.What is the happiest age in life? ›
In one large study from the Brookings Institute, for example, scientists found happiness was high for 18- to 21-year-olds and then dropped steadily until about age 40. But past middle age, the pattern began to reverse—gradually climbing back up to its highest point at age 98!Is being happy a purpose? ›
Happiness for many is the main purpose in life (manifested as loving relationships or career success). There is a distinct difference between happiness that is joy and pleasure which is often confused as happiness. A happy mindset can be improved through meditation, gratitude, and strong relationships.Is there anyone truly happy in life? ›
Genuinely happy people don't stress or worry over what others think about them. Instead, they concentrate on what they think of themselves based on who they are and how they behave. This is primarily about being able to look yourself in the mirror and feel good about the person you see.
What is life all about 3 words? ›
Understand your Life in 3 simple words. The three words are: Born, Contend and Die. Life is a long journey explained in different ways by different philosophers. It's a beautiful journey for a few people and it's a horrible journey for some other people.How to live a life? ›
- Eat nourishing food. ...
- Sleep seven to eight hours per night. ...
- Keep company with good people. ...
- Avoid news overdose. ...
- Get regular exercise. ...
- Do something meaningful each day.
In The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, advanced alien beings create a supercomputer, called Deep Thought, to figure out the answer to the so-called Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything. After calculating for 7.5-million years, Deep Thought determined the answer was the number 42.What age is too late to learn? ›
Whether you are 17 or 75 there is no reason why you can't start now. Age is simply nothing but a number. In fact it is said that learners of the average age of 80 were less likely to develop brain-related illnesses such as dementia. Yes, you read that correctly, 80 years old and still learning.Do you still learn after 25? ›
While a younger brain is more malleable and plastic, humans are still capable of learning when they're past that age. The brain can still form new neural connections! So don't fear if you are over 18 or 25 (oh, the memories!).Do people stop learning after 25? ›
Although you may face some extra difficulties at 30, 50 – or 90 – your brain still has an astonishing ability to learn and master many new skills, whatever your age.What happens if you delete your Quora account? ›
Deleting your account will remove all of your information from public view, including your profile, photos, bio, answers, comments, blog posts, votes, endorsements, and messages. 4.Why is Quora blocking me? ›
Quora blocks you from answering when you violate the Real name policy. Real name policy means that your username should be your FULL NAME, and it should be your REAL NAME. For example, if your name is John Babbage, you should put your username as John Babbage, and neither as John.Can you permanently delete Quora? ›
Go to Quora.com and ensure you are logged in. Click your Profile icon in the top right of the screen. On the side menu, click Privacy. On the Privacy settings menu, scroll down until you see two options: Deactivate Account and Delete Account.What does the Bible say is the reason for life? ›
“The purpose of my life is to know God and hear his voice so I can live a life of servanthood and obedience; then I will be a God-defined person and a non-anxious presence in every situation.”
What does 42 mean? ›
42 and the asterisk symbol
Forty-two is the ASCII code for the symbol * also known as the asterisk. This symbol is often thought to translate to anything or everything. In this instance, 42 = everything, the meaning of life.
In The Purpose Driven Life, Pastor Rick Warren reveals the meaning of life from a Christian perspective—five purposes that you were created by God to fulfill: worship, unselfish fellowship, spiritual maturity, your ministry, and your mission.What is my purpose according to God? ›
The overarching message the Bible tells us is that our purpose is to bring glory to our Heavenly Father. We do that by worshiping Him, living our lives as an offering to Him, and sharing the Gospel with those around us.What is the purpose God calls us for? ›
The purpose of God's call.
To redeem us from our sins. To minister to others. To be blessed and bless others. To partake in His glory.
Some believe this is unlucky because one of those thirteen, Judas Iscariot, was the betrayer of Jesus Christ. From the 1890s, a number of English language sources relate the "unlucky" thirteen to an idea that at the Last Supper, Judas, the disciple who betrayed Jesus, was the 13th to sit at the table.Why is 42 special? ›
The number 42 is especially significant to fans of science fiction novelist Douglas Adams' “The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy,” because that number is the answer given by a supercomputer to “the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything.” Booker also wanted to know the answer to 42.What 11 means? ›
Number 11 is the hour master number which represents intuition, sensitivity and awareness. This is why this number often appears when you need to make an important decision or be aware of some tendency people around you have regarding your life (a friend's jealousy/envy for example).