I’ve written and talked about eudaimonia (living a life of meaning) and its distinction from hedonia (living a life of pleasure). Recently, I read an article contrasting these with a third concept: psychologically rich, or living a life of engagement.

According to researchers, a psychologically rich life is characterized by “complex mental engagement, a wide range of intense and deep emotions, and diverse, novel, surprising and interesting experiences.” It means rarely experiencing boredom or monotony, and embracing novelty and variety.

Any one of these three mindsets and approaches to well-being can be a result of how we’re wired. But each one can also be a choice.

The year 2020 certainly affected our power to pursue meaning or pleasure. But because of the novelty, surprise, variety, and emotional intensity that we all experienced, we also had the power to embrace those times and choose to engage with them. For some of us, it was harder than others.

But the point is that, even in the toughest of times, it’s helpful to draw our attention to the idea that we can become psychologically richer on a daily basis.

 

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