07/05/2012 06:13 pm ET Updated Sep 04, 2012

Tips for Having a More Passionate and Meaningful Life

Studies show that people with a sense of meaning and who are passionate about their lives live a happier and healthier life, are more productive and efficient, and are more compassionate. Now the question is: Is finding this passion or meaning innate, or can we learn it?

The answer is a combination -- for some it is more innate to be passionate about certain things, but many can learn this trait and live a more meaningful life. It takes certain cognitive and behavioral modifications along with awareness to re-program the brain and change the course of one's destiny.

Here are some techniques that can be implemented that you may find helpful with finding passion and meaning in life:

1. Write down a list of your goals for the upcoming year. Make sure these are clear and reachable goals. Also, that these are your goal,s not someone else. For example, if you want to finish certain education, is it something you want or is it something your dad wishes you to be? The first usually makes people more passionate.

2. Learn your dark side and how to control it. By operating from your best side and being aware of your polarity, you can become more passionate and more caring about what really matters in life. Like most, you may have a side that has fear, anger, and laziness, is revengeful, arrogant, insecure, or maybe jealous. When you let these out to run you, they affect the quality of your life and make you lose touch with what you are searching for. Bring the solid part of yourself out and function from there while being aware of the rest.

3. Write down what is good and admirable in you. Have a list that reminds you what your good qualities are. Use these as a tool to find a meaning that makes you happy and your life more passionate.

4. Pay attention to the depth of involvement with your environment. Try to focus on quality more than quantity. Those good few friends, those good few articles and books, those good few activities. If you do one thing you are passionate about, you have done more than many people who do many things like robots.

5. Change your thinking pattern and your style to fit your passion. Focus on the process, not the outcome; don't have unreasonable expectations; be grateful for what you have, rather than resenting what you don't; make room for love to enter, and don't be shy to give it; build trust, don't attach to the outcome, and have a back-up plan; learn to enjoy things for the sake of the moment; stop negative thinking and be aware of the simple things in life you may take for granted.

At the end, learn to be open and flexible. In this fast-paced and diverse world that is becoming more and more interconnected, people who learn to be tolerant and can adjust and are resilient have more of a chance of happiness and full growth. And remember, once you get there, give yourself the obligation to share with others.

Roya R. Rad, MA, PsyD

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