Keeping Me Well - Cardiff and Vale University Hospital

How can I make my life meaningful?

When we are in a situation where we experience difficult or uncomfortable thoughts and feelings, we have two options: 

 1. We can allow ourselves to tune into that ‘doom and gloom’ – to allow our caveman brain to take over and make short-term decisions that don’t help us in the long-term.

  1. Or, we can use our de-fusion strategies to ‘unhook’ ourselves from our negative thoughts, and do things that are going to benefit us in the long-term

Once we have unhooked ourselves from our difficult thoughts and feelings, we need to know how we want to respond to them.


Imagine your life is like a treasure hunt:

    • The buried treasure are your goals – the things that you want to achieve in your life. These can be small treasures that you find on a daily basis, or a big treasure chest that you spend years trying to find.
    • Your values are like your compass. They help you navigate your way through life, and figure out the way that you want to get to the buried treasure. They tell you what’s important and what’s meaningful so that you can achieve a fulfilled, meaningful life.

Take a second to consider your values. How do you want to live your life? What makes it meaningful?

If you’re struggling to identify your values, you might find some ideas here.

Setting goals and building a meaningful life

  • It might be the case that you can’t do everything you used to. Radio doom and gloom might tell you that you’re never going to be able to do the things you enjoy, and that you’re never going to get any better
  • But just because you can’t do things in the way that we used to, that doesn’t mean you can’t still live a meaningful life! 
    • Just because you don’t have the energy to play rough and tumble with your children, that doesn’t mean you can’t connect with them. You can still play board games together, read a story… Even play sleeping lions! 
    • Your caveman brain might tell you that it makes you a bad parent if you can’t do the things you used to. But wouldn’t you rather do things to connect with others that are within your capabilities, rather than make yourself tired, grumpy and create an environment where it’s difficult to foster those relationships? 

SMART Goals 

    • Goals can be structured or unstructured 
    • You might say “I would like to try that one day” – this is an unstructured goal. They are just as valuable as structured goals! 
    • But if you want to have some more structure, you might want to create SMART goals. This stands for Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-bound.

Keeping Me Well - Cardiff and Vale University Hospital

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