Swedes, Daily Life, and the Darkness of Meaninglessness

There is no doubt that having a sense of meaning in life is good. It is linked to feeling better in all areas of life. A sense of meaning also helps us move towards a better future.

It is therefore serious that the feeling of meaninglessness in the Swedish population has increased significantly over the last twenty years. From 6% in 2003 to 24% in 2023.  

At the same time, mental illness, feelings of boredom and lack of content in life are growing. About forty percent of the population say that they find life either meaningless or are dissatisfied with their existence. Ten of these forty percent say that life is both meaningless and that they are discontented.  

In this report, we delve deeper into what we can say about Swedes' sense of meaning in life and how it relates to issues of social development, religion, and the big narratives.  For Swedes to find meaning everyday life must first and foremost be in place – relationships and money provide the foundation. Add freedom, a little self-fulfillment, and a sense that your actions matter and you have the recipe for a meaningful and satisfying life.  

As far as we can see, the answer to the loss of meaning cannot be found in the fact that Swedes have become more secular or that they think society in general is heading in the wrong direction. The big culprit in the drama is loneliness and the feeling that one is not at liberty to influence the outcome of one's life. 

Published: 2024