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Not Living Your Life Purpose Affects Your Health
Picture this: You wake up to your alarm clock, get dressed, get the kids off to school, drive to your office where you do monotonous paperwork all day, drive home, put dinner on the table, help your kids with homework, then watch TV for an hour or two, and go to bed to wake up and do the same thing again tomorrow.
You wait for the weekend to experience fun. But, of course, you have kids activities, and household chores. How much of your life is filled with joy? At what point will you experience joy daily? When you retire?
Not living your life purpose is making you sick. If you’re letting life pass you by, without joy, you’re probably having some unwanted chronic health symptoms. Maybe you’ve dealt with back pain for years, or migraines. You might have anxiety, depression, or chronic joint pain.
If you’re in a job that causes stress, without also bringing you fulfillment, you most likely have chronic health symptoms.
Maybe you don’t work, or you’re self-employed. Are you doing something that fills your cup? Something that brings you a sense of worth and value in this world?
Life purpose gives you meaning and gratification. It makes waking up every day, exciting. Sure, you will still have days of stress and overwhelm, but those days will be put towards something valuable to you and others.
According to one study of nearly 7,000 people, researchers found that those who did not live a purposeful life, were twice as likely to die, especially of diseases like cardiovascular disease. They found that having no life purpose was more detrimental than smoking or drinking.
Having a life purpose promotes healthy behaviors, such as eating healthier, exercising, and spending time in communion with others.
How Do I Know What My Life Purpose Is?
Learning what your life purpose is, is the tricky part. Sometimes, your life purpose comes from going through difficult times, like job loss, divorce, loss of a loved one, or health concerns. Other times, your life purpose can be found through exploration of hobbies and interests.
Ask yourself these questions:
- Have I been through something difficult that I can guide others through, to make it easier for them? – What things did I experience that someone else can do in an easier way? Can I shorten, or clarify, information for others?
- What was I passionate about as a kid? – Did you love art, making music, taking care of animals, sports, writing, playing school, or pretending to be a doctor? Whatever you loved to do as a kid holds a clue to what you might love as an adult. I loved playing school. I was an elementary teacher for many years, and now I teach adults how to heal trauma and practice self-care.
- Is there a social issue I’m passionate about? – Do you worry about homelessness, child trafficking, single moms, survivors of abuse, poverty, immigration reform, or animal rights? There’s way too many issues to list here, but what is something that you feel you could make a difference in by volunteering time or resources.
- Is there a problem in your everyday life that you wish someone would find a solution for? – If someone would just figure out how to create less waste with food packaging, or a better solution for watering your garden, that would make you so happy. Is there something else bothering you?Can you come up with a superior option?
- What brings you joy? – You took a vacation to the mountains, and found such solace in their quiet strength, and natural beauty. Or, you took a trip to the ocean, and watched as the conservationists released baby sea turtles back into the water. In 2020, my daughter got into collecting houseplants. As a teenager, she wasn’t great about watering them on a schedule. I found that learning the exact spot in our home where the plants thrived, figuring out watering needs, and growing new plants from cuttings was fun and peaceful to me. It helped me feel more abundant.
- What would you love to learn more about? – Would you love to know more about natural health, growing your own vegetables, flipping furniture, or building an online course? Find a mentor or do some research.
Create a More Fulfilling and Healthy Life
You already know to drink more water, get more sleep, eat more vegetables, and get more exercise. Don’t forget that self-care, social engagement, healthy relationships, and life purpose are just as important. Build your emotional health right along with your physical health.
If you would like more guidance and support, check out some of my resources here.