I am searching for a word or a phrase to call a feeling that can be defined as an opposite to wanting to die. I would use it to define a purpose in my life, because I noticed it became important for me to seek increase in this feeling. Perhpaps with a different color, but it may be expressed as enthusiasm to live, opposite to being depressed and not wanting to do things that you once enjoyed doing.

I've checked thesaurus for depression antonyms and enthusiasm synonyms and the closest word I found is zeal - "zeal to live", but I wonder if it works in life context and if there is an alternative without the eagerness part.

  • Quite common is full of the joys of life (the plural form is idiomatic). Mar 7, 2018 at 14:37
  • want to live, want to die are opposites.
    – Lambie
    Mar 7, 2018 at 15:22
  • There's a Sanskrit word for it: Jijeevisha (जिजीविषा). An online translation attempt shows no close English terms, though.
    – Tushar Raj
    Mar 7, 2018 at 17:56
  • 'euphoria' is related - it's a temporary inarticulate feeling of general superlative well-being, not necessarily with purpose (which I think is one of your criteria)
    – Mitch
    Mar 7, 2018 at 21:46

3 Answers 3


joie de vivre

mass noun

Exuberant enjoyment of life.
‘they seem to be filled with joie de vivre’
Oxford Dictionaries

See also Collins.


Consider having a zest for life.

zest noun 1 Great enthusiasm and energy. (in singular) ‘she had a great zest for life’ - ODO

zest for life : a feeling of enjoyment and enthusiasm for life - M-W

A zest for life means that we live each day with a sense of excitement. We take action and change things rather than complaining. We look at the positive side of life and move forward despite challenges faced. - What Is Zest For Life by Byron Pulsifer


Your own expression 'zeal to live' is very close to the English expression (borrowed from French) :

raison d'être


Reason for being. The claimed reason for the existence of something or someone; the sole or ultimate purpose of something or someone. (literally "reason to be")

Raison d'être (in keeping with style guide advice I have not used italics as it has become so well used and familiar that it needs none) expresses an ultimate purpose of existence.

Having a purpose of existence, leads to a desire to live and to live into the future.

It states a reason to be and that reason will be there even in times of difficulty or stress or temporary unhappiness.

  • 2
    I like this better than joie de vivre or zest for life, as those two seem limited to use for a happy upbeat reason for being non-suicidal. This one is much more general; one’s raison d’etre does not need to be upbeat, e.g. it could be duty or revenge.
    – k1eran
    Mar 7, 2018 at 22:18

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