How Pursuing Your Purpose Leads to a Happier Life
Why is it so important to find your purpose? Some people grow up knowing what they want out of life exactly, and others spend their lives searching for it. Knowing and striving to fulfill your purpose gives you a reason to wake up in the morning and feel motivated – ready to take on the world. This drive will not only improve your mental health but your physical well-being.
According to research, having a purpose in life can decrease your risk of dying early. The study found that people who lack purpose in their life often feel hopeless, causing depression, sleep disturbances, and a higher mortality rate. However, those with a strong sense of purpose live happier and healthier lives.
Your purpose could be attached to your family, career, social, or physical life. Of course, everyone defines their purpose differently, but one thing remains the same – the desire to fulfill their passion. So, how can pursuing your purpose lead to a happier life? Let’s find out!
1. Purpose Encourages Gratitude.
As you learn and grow while pursuing your purpose, gratitude will come naturally to you. As you begin to live a more meaningful life and live in the present, you learn to be thankful for all that you have. You have worked hard by striving for and achieving your goals, so as you live your purpose, it’s easy to savor the special things and people in your life as you have earned them.
As your gratitude increases, so does your happiness. This is because feeling gratitude releases dopamine, oxytocin, and serotonin in your brain. All those feel-good hormones that improve your mood!
2. You Make Better Decisions.
Our lives are full of decision-making. What should I wear today? What should I make for dinner tonight? Some decisions are trivial, but others add up and can impact your happiness and how you live your life. What about career decisions, choosing a life partner, or the best place to invest your money?
When you live a purpose-driven life, making decisions will be based on your ambitions, data, and risk to improve your happiness.
3. You Deal With Stress More Effectively.
The world is full of unknown and unexpected events or things that cause us stress. But, how you choose to deal with this stress can directly affect your happiness. Positive emotions will increase your mental flexibility and broaden your thought and action responses. So, as our happiness improves, we learn to cope with stress more effectively.
4. You Sleep Better & Have Increased Happiness.
Sleep is a way for your body and brain to reset after a long day. You grow skin, rebuild tissue, and consolidate memories during sleep. When you have purpose-driven sleep, it will improve your mental and physical well-being. In fact, people who live a life with purpose and meaning are less likely to suffer from restless leg syndrome or sleep apnea.
Sleep and happiness are directly linked. When you are happy, you generally sleep better. On the other hand, when you don’t get healthy sleep, you could be less happy.
5. It Improves Your Self-Esteem.
Each experience in life affects who we are and how we view ourselves. Negative events can cause us to question our self-worth, but when you are searching for your purpose and driven by your goals, these mindset challenges will be easier to overcome.
85% of people struggle with low self-esteem. So, as you pursue your purpose in life, how you view your accomplishments, appearance, family life, or career will begin to change for the better, and your confidence will grow.
Tips to Help You Find Your Purpose:
I believe that everyone is born with a purpose, and like most things in life, we have to explore and figure out what exactly it is and how to achieve it. For most of us, this process isn't very easy. If you're struggling to find out what your life's purpose is, check out these tips below:
Explore your identity.
Whatever your purpose is, it will be something that you are really interested in and have a burning passion for. Take a moment to think about what interests you the most and what drives you to want to help the environment or society. If you were paid the same amount of money to do any job in the world, what would it be? Your answer is likely to lead you to what your purpose is.
Identify your gifts and talents.
As a Christian, my faith leads me to believe that God gives us gifts that we can use as tools to help us fulfill our purpose. We all know at least one person who is so great at their job that it seems they were born with the skills to do what they do---that's because it's probably their God-given gift. So think about what you're naturally good at. Are you good at coaching others or giving advice? Are you a good leader or teacher? Whatever your answers are, keep them in mind when you're figuring out what your purpose is.
Ask your family and peers what they think you are good at.
Even if you already know what you're exceptionally good at, it would be a good idea to ask those closest to you what they feel that you're skilled at, too. So if you ask 3-4 people and most or all of them say the same thing, it's most likely a part of your life purpose.
Life is too short, so we should be living every day to the fullest, and finding our purpose allows us to do that. It gives us meaning. It brings us happiness and makes our lives feel worth living.
I highly recommend reading "A Purpose Driven Life: What On Earth Am I Here For?" by Rick Warren to help guide you through the process of finding your purpose. It changed my life tremendously, and I believe it will change yours too.