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To make it easier for you, Dr. Grant recommends starting with a daily “five-minute favor,” such as introducing two people who might benefit from knowing each other, or sending an article or podcast link to a friend, saying you were thinking of them. .

Even a quick chat with a stranger or a momentary bond with someone new can foster a sense of fulfillment, especially when what researchers call a high-quality connection occurs. “It doesn’t have to be long-lasting relationships or long interactions,” Dr. Grant said. “Sometimes people feel an extra boost in their gait when talking to a stranger on a plane or subway, or when someone greets them at a restaurant.”

Being seen by other people and being greeted with respect or even enthusiasm can energize and invigorate us and help to bond within our neighborhood or community.

As you come out of pandemic life, try to reconnect with a community that you have missed. It could be going back to church or choir, a running group or yoga class, or even just hanging out at your local cafe. And don’t be afraid to chat with a stranger, reconnect with your barista, or strike up a conversation at the dog park.

What things do you look forward to each day? What gives meaning to your life? Research has shown that fulfillment comes from everyday routines, like working on a new skill or reaching out to thank the people you value in your life, and small moments of mastery, connection, and meaning.

“There are a lot of American adults who would qualify to feel happy, but they lack a sense of purpose,” said Corey Keyes, professor of sociology at Emory University. “Just feeling good in life is not enough.”

While work isn’t necessarily the primary driver of your sense of purpose, studies show that reframing your perspective on your work can improve your sense of satisfaction. Deepening relationships with your coworkers and reminding yourself of how your work contributes to a greater good can change the way you think about work. If you’re an insurance agent, for example, seeing your job as a way to help people get back on their feet after an accident, rather than focusing on a rote task like handling claims, can make your job more fulfilling.



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