This article looks at what we mean by a sense of purpose and how to utilise this as a strategy to enhance life.
well being, optimism, happiness, attitude, identity, achievement, exercise,hopeful, challenge, action, dreams, goals, confidence, self esteem,
Researchers believe that developing A SENSE OF PURPOSE is a strategy which can ENHANCE HEALTHY LIVING.The basis for their theory comes from studies carried out on 135 women in the age group 61-91.This groups EMOTIONAL and PHYSICAL WELL BEING were evaluated by rating two types of indicators.
HAPPINESS evoked by POSITIVE experiences and A SENSE OF PURPOSEand a high SELF ESTEEM and REWARDING RELATIONSHIPS.
Results indicated that those who had A SENSE OF PURPOSE also displayed better PHYSICAL FUNCTIONING ABILITY. They had a tendency to weigh less, had a lower level of inflammatory cytokines which increase the risk of arthritis, displayed evidence of better SLEEP PATTERNS, lower blood sugar levels and HDL levels(good cholesterol) was more apparent. In the group which only displayed HAPPINESS the benefit was only that of a lowered cholesterol level.
What is A SENSE OF PURPOSE? There are many definitions.
Having an influence over others in work, in your community, within a family setting, or on a wider basis.(OXFAM, HELP THE CHILDREN, AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL.)
Being recognised and VALUED for your contribution. This also implies being VALUED by yourself!
Being RESPECTED by others.
Having A SENSE OF IDENTITY.
Recognising a sense of ACHIEVEMENT from what you do.
Having A PURPOSE helps to build CONFIDENCE and SELF ESTEEM.People who lack PURPOSE are often unhappy and lonely.
Examples of this could be the person who has retired from work. He may well have lots of time on his hands and be involved in a range of recreational activities but remain unfulfilled as there is no SENSE OF PURPOSE. Involvement in these pursuits simply helps to put in his day.
How often have you thought about what you would buy or the problems that may be solved by a lottery win? Yes, we have all dreamt about this and there is nothing wrong with having DREAMS .They can open up our minds to possibilities and sometimes lead us to pursuing GOALS and a course of ACTION in their pursuit.
Yet, how often do we hear about people who have had this stroke of luck and discoverthat their lives are not necessarily enhanced in any meaningful way by this, or are even worse of because of it. Headlines in local press have told us about the families who have broken up after winning money. People who have packed in their jobs and gone on shopping sprees and drinking binges. Men and women who long for the company of others who are not solely interested in them for what they get. The world in our eyes may be their oyster but what they may find diminished is a sense of CHALLENGE…
There is some truth in the saying that if you have to work hard for something you will appreciate it more.Sometimes the achievement itself is not the most rewarding aspect, but the process involved in its acquisition.
What provides someone with A SENSE OF PURPOSE will vary from person to person. For some it may simply be taking care of another close to them. Others may choose to travel, get involved in regular EXERCISE/HEALTHY EATING, doing college courses. The options are limitless. Which ever you choose, your commitment to this will also benefit you by keeping your MIND ACTIVE.
The chances are that he/she will also be more OPTIMISTIC and HOPEFUL as a person .Having something important to aim for encourages people to be less likely to give up when things go wrong and to look for any learning opportunity instead.
Having A SENSE OF PURPOSE tends to make people more involved in taking care of themselves. They will pay attention to their health. Involvement with other people means that they are less LONELY and that they also have other people around for support. Peers can also be useful for giving you feedback and helping you see things about yourself which may otherwise go unnoticed.