“The meaning of life is to find your gift, the purpose of life is to give it away.”
What does finding your purpose mean? Where do you look for it? How does it benefit your health and wellness?
Finding your purpose can sound like a fluff, Hallmark sentiment, though there are actually a lot of studies that show a strong connection between being rooted in a sense of purpose and a healthy, happy life supported by optimal health and a sense well-being.
According, to Corey Keyes, a leading researcher at Emory University, purpose can be defined as the “quality of being determined to do or achieve an end that employs one’s gifts, brings a deep sense of worth or value, and provides a significant contribution to the common good.”
There is both an inner sense of gratification and an outer sense of contribution to something bigger than ourselves. I believe we all have an intrinsic desire to leave the world a better place. It’s what has fueled humanity from the beginning of time. Progress is steeped in purpose and capitalizing on our divine gifts.
Curious about how to discover your purpose?
Here are 5 prompts to get you started:
- What lights you up? What topics interest you? What energizes you to take action?
Practice self-observation and pay attention to what you find yourself thinking about, reading, listening to, sharing with friends and family. Keep a journal or jot notes in your smart phone for a few weeks. Then look back on it to notice any themes or similarities.
2. What companies or professionals do you admire? What mission statements resonate with you?
Consider the companies you interact with as a consumer. Read over their mission statements. Research how they contribute to society. What resonates with you?
3. What are you doing when you lose track of time? What do you find yourself wanting to do more of?
4. What problem(s) in your community (micro level) or society (macro level) do you want to solve?
5. Who do you want to help?
When you approach the question; what is your purpose? with a service-oriented mindset, it opens you up to see the bigger picture.
Take time with these questions. Finding a profession or mission that resonates with you can take time. As you explore what comes up, new doors will open. As you take action, small steps each day, you will find it gets easier and more intuitive.
Another aspect of purpose is it can change and evolve over time depending on the season of life you are in. For some, their purpose moors them their entire life, for others it can ebb and flow depending on the circumstances of their life. Be open to both.
Passion, purpose, profession is the coveted trifecta. It is available to you.
And, your health and well-being will benefit from it.
Here are 8 health benefits for leading a life rooted in purpose.
- Individuals with a high sense of purpose have a lower risk of developing a stroke, heart attack, or coronary artery disease.
- Purpose gives your brain resilience. It makes your brain stronger and more resistant to the effects of diseases like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
- It results in better time management. When you’re rooted in purpose each day it clarifies your priorities and makes time management a skill you value and hone over time. When you are more productive there is a sense of fulfillment which keeps the body in a relaxed state and stress levels manageable.
- You are happier. When you wake up each day excited to do purpose-driven work it gives your day a sense of meaning and importance that would otherwise be absent.
- It boosts your sense of self-worth and self-confidence. Knowing that the work you do benefits others releases mood boosting hormones that help to buoy your mood. This doesn’t mean every day is rainbows and unicorns, it means the overall tenor of your life is positive. You have a cultivated resiliency that allows you bounce back from a rough day. And, we all have rough days. It’s part of being human.
- You will have ownership and a sense of accomplishment about your purpose-fulfilled work. A pride that comes from knowing you’re making a difference. This pride gives you a sense of worth and value which in turn motivates you to take care of yourself. Self-care is really a manifestation of self-love.
- You are kinder to yourself when you hit setbacks or failure. When you’re on a mission that is aligned with your values, passions and purpose, nothing can stop you. Failure becomes not a roadblock but just an obstacle for you get around. It’s just part of the journey. This change in perspective bolsters your drive and determination to keep moving forward towards your goals.
- It reduces feelings of stress. When you are happier, more resilient and prioritizing your self-care, stress becomes manageable. It becomes a state that you recognize, assess and handle. You learn to distinguish the “excited” stress of anticipation and the dark side of stress that brings on feelings of anxiety, shame, inadequacy, and guilt. When you are aligned with purpose and your actions support your intentions and values there is no place for shame, inadequacy or guilt.
Discovering your purpose is an exciting and fun experience that unfolds over time. Give yourself the time and space to ponder the questions above and don’t let up until you resonate with a mission so strongly you know it’s for you. The benefits to your health and wellness can last a lifetime.
You deserve to feel your best!
Ashley Logan, Integrative Health Coach at Ashley Logan Wellness, LLC
Ashley is a certified integrative health coach, writer, and workshop facilitator. She empowers others to create actionable strategies that support physical, mental, emotional and spiritual health for a holistic, integrative approach to wellness.