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Meaning in Life and at the End: The One Important Year Project

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By Mina Simhai

Positive psychology interventions can increase well-being, and this paper proposes three personalized interventions for enhancing meaning in life, one component of well-being. Part I lays a theoretical foundation, providing an overview of positive psychology; meaning, its benefits and its sources; and research on pursuing meaning. Part II explains the One Important Year Project and related book I plan to write entitled One Important Year: One Human’s Quest to Cultivate a Year that Matters. It proposes three pathways for cultivating meaning in life: seeing meaning, building meaning, and giving meaning. These pathways form the basis of twelve monthly meaning interventions that I will implement in the One Important Year Project. Finally, Part III proposes one representative monthly meaning intervention for each pathway and examines the empirical underpinnings: gratitude from the seeing meaning pathway, time in nature from the building meaning pathway, and caring for an elderly, widowed parent from the giving meaning pathway. The latter examines the meaninglessness trifecta and protective factors that buffer against meaninglessness. An outline of the book is contained in an appendix. The future vision is a community of people cultivating their own One Important Year projects, inspired by this paper and the book I will write.

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