Life Purpose Discovery in West Lothian, Scotland
What Is Life Purpose?
Your life purpose consists of the central motivating aims of your life – the reasons you get up in the morning.
Purpose can guide life decisions, influence behaviour, shape goals, offer a sense of direction, and create meaning. For some people, the purpose is connected to vocation—meaningful, satisfying work. For others, their purpose lies in their responsibilities to their family or friends. Others seek meaning through spirituality or religious beliefs. Some people may find their purpose clearly expressed in all these aspects of life.
The purpose will be unique for everyone; what you identify as your path may be different from others. What’s more, your purpose can actually shift and change throughout life in response to the evolving priorities and fluctuations of your own experiences.
Questions that may come up when you reflect upon your life purpose are:
- Who am I?
- Where do I belong?
- When do I feel fulfilled?
- What inspires me?
Your calling is as simple as gifts + passions + values = purpose
How Will I Find my Purpose?
Through various exercises and techniques, including life analysis, body-mind feedback, guided meditation, and some other complementary modalities.
Why Is Life Purpose Important?
Purpose offers emotional and psychological benefits.
Perhaps you have experienced moments when you felt truly connected like you were performing a task you were made for—maybe when you were organizing a grassroots campaign, comforting a sick grandchild, or creating a piece of art or music. It is likely that this was a moment of being in harmony with your purpose.
Living on purpose feels alive, clear, and authentic. You may also experience “flow,” which is a state of total absorption in which time seems to disappear and you feel content and fulfilled.
Purpose can influence physical health
In addition to the emotional and psychological benefits, having a strong sense of purpose can also help you:
- Live longer. A 2009 study of over 73,000 Japanese men and women found that those who had a strong connection to their sense of purpose (which they call ikigai) tended to live longer than those who didn’t. Additionally, in his study of “Blue Zones” (communities in the world in which people are more likely to live past 100), Dan Buettner identified the factors that most centenarians share, one of them being a strong sense of purpose. In 2014, researchers used data that tracked adults over 14 years and found that “having a purpose in life appears to widely buffer against mortality risk across the adult years.”
- Protect against heart disease. Another study in 2008 found that a lower level of purpose in Japanese men was associated with earlier death and cardiovascular disease. More research in this area showed that “purpose is a possible protective factor against near-future myocardial infarction among those with coronary heart disease.”
- Prevent Alzheimer’s disease. In studies of thousands of elderly subjects, Dr. Patricia Boyle, a neuropsychologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, found that people with a low sense of life purpose were 2.4 times more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease than those with a strong purpose. Further, people with purpose were less likely to develop impairments in daily living and mobility disabilities.
- Handle pain better. Purpose can also positively affect pain management—a study in The Journal of Pain found that women with a stronger sense of purpose were better able to withstand heat and cold stimuli applied to their skin.
Living with purpose promotes resilience
One of the common features among people who live with purpose is that they are able to find meaning in the things that happen to them. Andrew Zolli, author of Resilience, describes these people as being able to “cognitively reappraise situations and regulate emotions, turn
ing life’s proverbial lemons into lemonade.”
Ed Diener’s extensive research on the science of wellbeing has found that people with a strong sense of purpose are better able to handle the ups and downs of life. Purpose can offer a psychological buffer against obstacles—thus, a person with a strong sense of purpose remains satisfied with life even while experiencing a difficult day. According to Barbara Fredrickson, this kind of long-term resilience can lead to better cardiovascular health, less worry, and greater happiness over time.
What is a calling?