At the core of living a fulfilling and contented life is waking up each morning with the clear understanding that what you do in your everyday life matters, makes a difference.
One of the first Why Not . . . ? posts ever posted on TSLL was Why Not . . . Discover Your Purpose? In this three part series, which has become a readers’ favorite, the benefits, tips on discovering your unique purpose and advice on how to not be deterred are shared. But one benefit that was excluded from the original post was recently revealed this week after a study by the National Institute of Aging that I wanted to bring to your attention.
Not only do those who have discovered their purpose in life find the everyday to be more enjoyable and less stressful, but now there is clear evidence that they live longer as well.
As the article points out, the definition of one’s purpose is open to a wide interpretation, and still, those who had found a self-motivating force to do, create, live and share, had a 15% lower risk of death.
Examples of one’s purpose:
- a determination to do your job well, no matter what the job
- providing for your family’s security and happiness
- contributing to social change
- sharing your creative talent with the world (painting, singing, writing, dance, speaking)
- any pursuit that fuels you endlessly, doesn’t hurt others, and taps into a deeper passion or talent that to silence would be a form of death of your authentic self
As you can see, each one of us will find a different purpose. Some may choose to work tirelessly for their community, others may tinker away in their office on projects of creativity, and still others may step up to the podium, finding the courage within to speak out for change.
Whatever your purpose is, finding it acts as a sort of protectant against stress, and when we reduce our stress, we reduce our risk of heart disease and other health ailments that are exacerbated by excessive strain on our internal machine that works tirelessly to keep us up and running.
As I listened to the findings, I began reflecting on my own life to see if indeed there may be some truth to these findings. And funny enough, upon comparing similar instances that would have typically prompted me to be stressed, it was those instances in which I knew my long term goal, my purpose was something that I felt wholeheartedly certain about – felt-it-in-my bones-certainty, that did not cause me to feel terribly stressed.
So today, consider your purpose and at the same time consider your stress level. When do you become overly stressed? Examine why you are doing whatever prompts this spike of adrenaline, cortisol,and norepinephrine (the three major stress hormones). And most importantly, sit down with yourself and contemplate precisely what you believe to be your purpose. When you have pinpointed it, ask yourself, does this purpose sit well with me? If it does, keep charging ahead, and if it doesn’t, begin the worthwhile journey of discovering your purpose. Another bit of good news that the study revealed was that it didn’t matter when you found your purpose – 20s, 40s or 70s – so long as you did, the benefits were quick to begin.
~SIMILAR POSTS FROM THE ARCHIVES YOU MIGHT ENJOY:
~Why Not . . . Discover Your Purpose? (3 part series)