Finding your purpose can feel exhilarating, overwhelming or a little bit of both. We all crave a meaningful life that has a sense of purpose and worth. However, many people feel stuck in their day-to-day lives and struggle to discover their life purpose. No matter what stage of life or situation you’re in, there are three steps you can take to find your life purpose and the benefits of finding it.
Step 1. Recognizing How a Sense of Purpose Can Benefit Your Health
It may not be surprising to learn that people who feel they are living a meaningful life tend to have:
- Better ability to cope with anxiety and stress.
- Higher levels of satisfaction.
- Less conflict and better self-regulation when making decisions about their health.
- Lower levels of depression.
- More social support.
- Stronger self-esteem.
However, you may be surprised to know that people who feel they are living in alignment with their life purpose also live longer and often have:
- Decreased cognitive decline with aging.
- Higher levels of HDL, or good cholesterol.
- Less inflammation in their bodies.
- Lower waist-to-hip ratio, which is associated with having fewer obesity-related health conditions.
Step 2. Determining How Goals Are Not the Same as Purpose
When you let your sense of purpose drive you, setting and achieving goals can be a great way to build the life you want for yourself. However, keep in mind that goals differ from purpose.
Goals are achievable and measurable outcomes. A purpose is a guiding force that provides you with a sense of self and gives meaning to your life.
Some people fear that focusing on what they feel passionate about may mean missing out on other goals, such as making a good living. However, having a strong sense of purpose in life has been linked to increased household income, among other benefits.
When you find your passion and live your purpose, you are more likely to create a life that sustains you mentally, physically and financially.
Step 3. Discovering That Purpose Is Created, Not Found
Purpose can change throughout your life. You may have more than one purpose at a time or have experiences that leave you feeling lost. No matter where you are today, you can cultivate a greater sense of purpose.
Purpose is a practice that can be developed. You can discover your purpose by learning more about yourself. To do this:
- Go outside your comfort zones to try something you’ve always wanted to do.
- Identify people you admire and think about why you feel that way.
- Make a list of your skills and the activities that bring you joy.
- Pay attention to how you like to spend your time.
- Spend time visualizing the life you want, including career, community, hobbies, home and relationships.
- Start a gratitude journal.
- Think about and write down your personal values.
True purpose can only be found within yourself. When you begin opening your eyes to what brings you joy, you are on the right path.
As you get to know yourself better, set small goals that lead you in the direction you want to go. When your goals and actions align with your passions and values, you will discover your purpose flows through you.
To learn more about the connection between life purpose and health, schedule an appointment with your St. Elizabeth Physicians.