Gary's Guidance: Meaningful Occupation

March 2011

Last month I wrote about the importance of routines and how we gravitate to what is comfortable and familiar.  More so, developing a positive habit helps us with being emotionally settled and feeling comfortable.  Today I will focus on meaningful occupation which relates to habits, routines, and being happy.

Two components of happiness is having something meaningful to do, and having something to look forward to.  Generally, meaningful occupation has to do with work or being engaged in hobbies, interests, and leisure activities.  Having something meaningful to do is important for our mental health.  We can escape into an activity.  Think about the last time you were engaged in an activity that you became so engrossed in it that you forgot about what time it was and what was going on around you.  There were no problems in the world, no distractions, and no outside responsibilities. You were totally living in the moment and caught up in the activity that you were doing.  The activity perhaps brought you a sense of pleasure, sense of accomplishment, sense of satisfaction, sense of pride, or even a sense of purpose.

There are times in our lives when we may lose our sense of purpose.  This can happen following retirement from work or during the later stages of life.  That is why throughout our life span it is important to have meaningful occupation.  One needs to invest in finding meaningful occupation.  After all, it can connect us to happiness and gaining a sense of purpose.

Gary Kozick, LCSW

Originally appeared in the Arbor Terrace: A Senior Living Residence monthly newsletter, March 2011)