17 Reasons for Living

Are you going through a bad time? Is it hard for you to find hope in the cracks of everyday life? If so, it's a good idea to remember all the reasons for which life is worthwhile and can even be joyous.
17 Reasons for Living
Valeria Sabater

Written and verified by the psychologist Valeria Sabater.

Last update: 29 August, 2023

There are many reasons for living. However, sometimes, everything gets complicated, tangled, and we completely lose hope. It’s as if we walked into a well-lit house and someone broke all the light bulbs one by one. Suddenly, we’re left in the dark, in a shapeless dimension full of holes and voids. How can we manage these moments of suffering?

As the neurologist and psychiatrist Viktor Frankl used to say, what really drives us to move forward is to find meaning and purpose in our existence. That’s the key. Therefore, it’s a good idea to reflect on those rays of light in the moments of darkness.

When things aren’t going well, it’s normal to experience emotional pain and despondency. However, these moments are always temporary. Sooner or later, our circumstances change and we become aware that life has many different stages and it’s worth living each and every one of them.

Reasons for living to remember every day

Sometimes, the idea that life isn’t worth living might cross your mind. This bleak perception isn’t always the product of depression or a mental disorder. Indeed, any one of us can experience these thoughts. Feeling bad, when things go wrong, is something that’s perfectly acceptable and understandable.

However, in those moments when your hope collapses, it’s more important than ever to hold on to something that makes sense. The University of Manitoba (Canada conducted research that highlights how faith and religion are important for some people. But, each one of us has our own reasons for living.

In fact, there are many reasons for living, but there are some that act as guiding lights. You can find out about them here.

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1. Life means change and tomorrow everything might improve

Life is like the ocean. It’s always moving, flowing, and constantly changing, like the tides. While it’s true that the waves can drag you to the bottom, after a short time, calm always returns. So, while things may be going really badly for you today, no suffering lasts forever. Remember, tomorrow, everything might change.

2. The people who love you

When hopelessness traps you, your mind skillfully deceives you. It makes you believe that nobody loves you. But remember, there are some people for whom you’re everything, figures who love you just the way you are. They’re there for you, no matter what and in any circumstance.

3. Your passions give you meaning

Sometimes, being happy is really simple. You just need to do what you like, and you’ll soon find that time ceases to exist. Art, music, sports, cooking, movies, books. Everyone has a passion or a hobby that takes them into a unique setting where harmony and calm reign. So, remember, when things go wrong, seek refuge.

4. Present friendships and those to come

In 2017, the American Psychological Association (APA) highlighted the role of social support and friendships for good mental health. In fact, they found that friends are allies that give meaning, vitality, joy, and experiences we never forget. And, have no doubt, you’ll meet more special people in the future.

We all go through bad times. In those dark moments, you need to remember what lights up your life so you can regain hope.

5. The pleasure of fulfilling dreams

There are many reasons for living. One of them is achieving your goals and discovering that many of your dreams do come true. While today, it might seem impossible for something like this to happen, to triumph, you sometimes have to stumble and fall or take a step back. In the end, you’ll achieve your goals.

Hands of a clasped couple symbolizing their reasons for living
If you’re going through a bad time, remember that you’re not alone.

6. Healing your wounds and discovering your strengths

Leonard Cohen famously said, “There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in”. Indeed, many of us are injured in some way with invisible scars. But, surprisingly, despite being broken, in the end, you heal. That’s when you discover the strengths that exist in you. You just need to be patient and encourage this healing process.

7. The feeling of being free

Among the many reasons for living, enjoying freedom is one of the most important. There always comes a time when you realize you can make decisions and chart your own course. You’re not a puppet tied by strings that others manipulate; you can choose what you want for yourself. And that’s a wonderful feeling.

8. Falling in love

It doesn’t matter if you’re 13, 20, or 80, love is always worth it. Love is the fuel of life. It’s the spark that connects you with the world at all levels. While your heart might’ve been broken, don’t forget, around the corner might be the person capable of healing what others broke and who’ll bring color back into your world.

9. You’re important

Don’t underestimate yourself. Don’t put aside the person you see in your mirror every day. You’re someone who’s really important in the world. In fact, your mere presence is valuable. Moreover, you don’t have to prove anything to anyone. So, don’t compare yourself. Focus attention on yourself and what makes you happy. Don’t be obsessed with success or achieving great things. It’s enough to be you, to be here, and to feel good.

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10. Create something yourself

There are numerous reasons for living. For example, the pleasure of creating something with your hands and your emotions, making an effort, and being creative. You don’t have to be an engineer. Drawing, writing, and creating will help you make sense of everything.

As Graham Greene said: “Sometimes I wonder how all those who do not write, compose, or paint can manage to escape the madness, the melancholia, the panic and fear which is inherent in the human condition”.

11. The refuge of nature

Nature is the home of calm and beauty that often offers you a much-needed refuge. In fact, there can be few things more pleasant than a forest at dawn. Or the ocean, the sea, the beaches, the rivers. These magical settings also give you reasons for living.

12. Saying “I love you” and being told the same

Your partner, friends, and family. Feeling loved and expressing affection to the people who give meaning to your life every day is the best kind of anchoring in the world. Never doubt the fact that you have many “I love yous” left to say and hear.

Connections stimulate your adrenaline and serotonin and restore your will to live.

13. Preparing a suitcase for a trip

Can there be anything more exciting than a trip? Leaving everyday life behind to venture to other countries, cultures, and scenarios is one of the best experiences that you can ever have. Traveling is healthy. It educates you, frees you, and makes you happier. 

14. Your pets

Only those who love animals know the meaning they give to our existence. Maybe you have a dog with adoring eyes who looks at you every day as if you’re the most incredible being on the planet. Or, perhaps you’re more of a cat lover and enjoy having one curled up next to you. You don’t even mind when they sit on your laptop.

15. The smell of rain and the sensations that make you feel alive

Petrichor (rain after a dry spell) is one of the most extraordinary sensory experiences. However, it’s not the only one. There are millions of shivers of pleasure to be had thanks to different flavors, smells, and sounds. Being alive means feeling and experiencing. This is happiness.

16. Starry summer nights

You have endless summers ahead of you to enjoy and marvelous starry nights to contemplate, alone or in company. We may be no more than a small dot in this vast universe, but in each one of us, there’s light and a brightness capable of illuminating others.

17. The best reason for living is you

If you find yourself asking why you should go on living, the most important reason is you. You’re the best. And, while it’s true that sometimes the wind doesn’t blow in your favor remember that such moments don’t last forever.

Painful situations might paint the sky in darker colors than a storm but, like these, they’re also temporary. Tell yourself to calm down. The bad times will pass. Look back to those experiences in the past when you believed there was no way out and then you found it.

Friends hugging and celebrating that there are many reasons to live
If you’re going through a bad time, seek support from the people who love you.

Need help? Contact these support numbers

If you’re going through a bad time, remember that there are always people to help. Don’t hesitate to call the suicide prevention helplines. Their specialized representatives will guide you.

You should also talk to someone close to you. Nobody will judge you. You deserve to feel better.

Here are some useful telephone numbers.

  • Argentina: Suicide Assistance Center (135).
  • Austria: Rat auf Draht (147).
  • Germany: Berlin Crisis Service/ International Helpline Berlin (0800 111 0 111 / 0800 111 0 222).
  • Belgium: Centrum Ter Preventie Van Zelfdoding (1813).
  • Brazil: Emotional support center (188).
  • Canada: Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention (988).
  • Colombia: Ministry of Health (106).
  • Chile: Digital Hospital (4141).
  • Denmark: Suomen Mielenterveysseura (70 201 201).
  • Ecuador: ANIMA Ec mobile application (171-option 6).
  • United States: American Foundation for Suicide Prevention (988).
  • Spain: Association of Professionals in Suicide Prevention and Postvention. (0247).
  • France: SOS Amitié (09 72 39 40 50).
  • Greece: Suicide Help Greece (1018).
  • Hong Kong: The Samaritan Befrienders Hong Kong (2389 2222).
  • Hungary: Magyar Lelki Elsősegély Telefonszolgálatok Szövetsége (116-111).
  • India: AASRA (91-22-27546669).
  • Italy: Azzurro (19696).
  • Mexico: IAPA and Public Health Services, (55 5533-5533).
  • The Netherlands: Stichting LOS (Landelijk Ongedocumenteerden Steunpunt) (0800 0113).
  • Portugal: SOS friendly voice (213 544 545 / 912 802 669 / 963 524 660).
  • United Kingdom: Papyrus HOPELINEUK, Samaritans, Carers UK (116 123).
  • Switzerland: La Main Tendue – Die Dargebotene Hand (143).
  • Venezuela: Federation of Psychologists of Venezuela (0212-416-3116 / 0212-416-3118).

All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.

  • Manchanda, T., Stein, A., & Fazel, M. (2023). Investigating the Role of Friendship Interventions on the Mental Health Outcomes of Adolescents: A Scoping Review of Range and a Systematic Review of Effectiveness. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 20(3),2160. https://www.mdpi.com/1660-4601/20/3/2160
  • Kalashnikova, O., Leontiev, D., Rasskazova, E., & Taranenko, O. (2022). Meaning of life as a resource for coping with psychological crisis: Comparisons of suicidal and non-suicidal patients. Frontiers in Psychology, 13:957782. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fpsyg.2022.957782/full
  • King, A. R., Russell, T. D., & Veith, A. C. (2017). Friendship and mental health functioning. In M. Hojjat & A. Moyer (Eds.), The psychology of friendship (pp. 249–266). Oxford University Press. https://psycnet.apa.org/record/2016-59521-015
  • Rieger, S. J., Peter, T., & Roberts, L. W. (2015). ‘Give Me a Reason to Live!’ Examining Reasons for Living Across Levels of Suicidality. Journal of religion and health54(6), 2005–2019. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24912828/

This text is provided for informational purposes only and does not replace consultation with a professional. If in doubt, consult your specialist.