- Saturday, 10 January 2015 07:34
Quote for the week: “Feed your soul, starve your worries.” – Terry Braverman
RECONNECTING TO PURPOSE
In this first week of the New Year, many of us take time to reflect upon our commitments, what we desire to change, and how we want to improve our lives. Today I offer an emotional/spiritual component to the core issue of what inspires us to really live.
This is a prime time to reconnect to life purpose; for some, creating a new purpose, but seriously ask yourself: “What do I live for?” The answer should candidly distill down to a passionate feeling or quality of living, e.g. “I live for joy,” “I live to nurture my family,” “I live for peace of mind.” Mine is, “I live for adventure.” It doesn’t mean that I run with the bulls, wrestle alligators, or confront the Komodo dragon. I live for adventure, not insanity!
It means that I try to find the adventure in most everything that I do. For something as mundane as going to the market, I’m not going just to shop. I preset an intention to talk with or meet somebody on the line at the checkout stand, or elicit a new way to prepare fish from the person behind the fish counter, or learn about a new product. Building my life around that sense of adventure really simplifies things in terms of creating goals and objectives, like inhaling through a tube from an oxygen tank.
If life feels like a hamster wheel of waking up, going to work, paying bills, toiling over household chores, and family obligations without the central soul connection to purpose, it becomes vapid. Purpose is the furnace that your core energy needs to radiate energy and engagement. Distill your purpose in life down to a simple feeling or quality. This is the foundation by which you reconstruct the materials of your life.
Seeking an enhanced sense of purpose in life? Here are five suggestions:
- Connecting and/or networking with others, personally and professionally
- Learning new skills
- Becoming more physically active
- Giving your time and resources to assist others in need
- Paying more attention to the world around you
Next week: the key physiological component for sustaining energy.
BBC NEWS REPORTS
A recent study found that having a purpose in life is linked to living longer, regardless of your age or retirement status. The study was carried out by researchers from Carleton University, Canada and the University of Rochester Medical Center, U.S., and was funded by the National Institute of Mental Health and the National Institute on Aging. It was published in the peer reviewed medical journal Psychological Science.
Researchers asked more than 6,000 people aged 20 to 70 whether they felt they had a strong sense of purpose in life. This was assessed using a scoring system of how strongly people felt about the following statements:
- "Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them."
- "I live life one day at a time and don't really think about the future."
- "I sometimes feel as if I've done all there is to do in life."
They were also asked about their social relationships with others. Death rates were recorded for the next 14 years. The study found that people who died scored lower on purpose in life and positive relations with others.
The study only assessed purpose in life using three questions at one point in time. This type of study could therefore only show an association between purpose in life and mortality rate at best. It did not take into account key lifestyle factors such as physical activity, diet, smoking, alcohol consumption or illness.
Although this study lacks the breadth and thoroughness to prove that having a purpose prolongs your life, common sense suggests that it is likely to enrich it.