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Meaningful Living - A Sense of Purpose

Updated on November 14, 2015

A Sense of Purpose

A sense of purpose in life helps you to live longer irrespective of your age. So, according to the latest research, it appears that eating your vegetables and having a good exercise programme is not the most important factor in your longevity stakes.

Thinking about this, it makes sense that once an adult has left their work and lost the organizing source of their days, that they are likely to face a high mortality risk, if they also lost their sense of purpose.

This study applied equally to young adults who haven’t derived much pleasure from life’s experience and/or have lost their sense of direction. They are also likely to face a high mortality risk, simply because they will do risky things in order to ‘feel.'

However, the research predicts longer lives for younger and older adults and finding purpose, setting goals for what you want to achieve seems to lead to greater longevity.

How to make your Life more Meaningful & Exciting

If you ask yourself what makes life worth living what is your answer?

If the answer is, “Because I’m here on earth and so I try to make the best of it."

Perhaps you should consider an inward look at the things you do that make it worth living.

Your life involves many different facets; you are not only your career, or hobby, or relationship, or family, neither are you just your behavior nor your emotions.

We are a part of the tapestry of life, and connected by how our neighbour’s weave their cloth and how our loved ones and friends weave theirs, influencing each other as we go along.

We all have all come down different paths in life and therefore have a different experience of life, and if our purpose is lost in feelings of boredom or stagnation, which leads to frustration, anxiety and disappointment, then we must turn these emotions around and use them to our advantage.

From this uncomfortable place, you can decide what you want, even though you may have to start this process by first discovering what you don’t want and extrapolate from there what you really do want.


Finding Life's Purpose

Spiritual beliefs

Most studies reveal that those who have spiritual and religious beliefs feel gratitude for their existence and have hope for the future. Knowing that beyond our immediate existence there is something else, allows us to push the envelope and become better people.

Remember life’s purpose is not in owning more things, having more possessions, or what you surround yourself with, it's about what you do.

So let’s look at a few steps to help us find purpose – we are looking for satisfying answers, answers that make us glad to get up in the morning.

Answer the following questions:

  • What do you do creatively? This could be writing, to inventing something to forming a non-profit.
  • How well do you relate? How well do you create, maintain and build relationships, be it family, friends or colleagues.
  • Outreach - what do you do to help? It’s important to lend a hand to people who need it, and in turn you feel worthy and it gives you some sense of purpose.

Follow your gifts and talents, ask yourself:

What comes naturally to you?

When do you feel the best?

What are you doing or experiencing then?

What's Important to You?
What's Important to You?

What is Important to You?

Write down a number of things you believe are the essence of how you want to live life. What you stand for, and what principles do you hold highest?

Make another list of the things that give you pleasure.

  • What are they?
  • How do they make you happy?

Answering these questions will let you know which things influence you on an emotional level.

Appreciate your health.

Don’t only think about your health when you have the flu, appreciate if every day.

Say Yes More

Say ‘yes’ to things you wouldn’t normally consider or would say ‘no’ to. You never know what can happen and follow on from that answer. You could be missing out on some of life’s experiences that really matter.

Make Time for Yourself

Make time for yourself to consider your own reactions and actions.

Dream about the good feelings that you have had in your life, remember them and what you did to get that feeling, and then what you want from life and the how you could reach this dream.

Get rid of commitments that make you miserable.

Time is your most precious commodity use it wisely to make a difference and participate in life.

What Makes Life Meaningful: Michael Steger

Last Thoughts

Ask and Listen

Be curious about those people for whom you care. Listen attentively and take a genuine interest in what they are saying, as this will bring those people closer to you. Put time and effort in building your relationships and be aware of how very important they are to your identity.

Spend time with positive people that add to your life and move on from those who detract from it.

Don’t stop Learning

Knowledge is power and something that cannot be taken from you. It unlocks doors that strength cannot. You learn from doing things, so no matter your age, master something you are passionate about or learn a new skill. It helps us make sense of our world and find the confidence to face whatever life brings.

When you work on something that you love, it gives you an incomparable pleasure and satisfaction. So just take a risk and broaden your horizon, release the enthusiasm that lies within you.

Find Your Purpose

  • If you do not step forward, you will always be in the same place.”

It is liberating to find out why you are here, and to follow it through by living it. This gives you all the meaning you will ever require for life, and the energy and drive that wakes you up in the morning.


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    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      4 years ago

      joedolphin88, so glad you popped in. Thank you for commenting.

    • joedolphin88 profile image


      4 years ago from north miami FL

      It's great to focus on a sense of purpose, it really pushes people to reach their potential.

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      4 years ago

      Pamela99, Thank you for chiming in here with a comment that adds dimension to my hub. I so appreciate it. My aunt researched the family ancestry, took her years but it is a wonderful thing to do, and great to leave to the children.

    • Pamela99 profile image

      Pamela Oglesby 

      4 years ago from Sunny Florida

      I really think you hit on all the important things to give our lives a sense of purpose when we retire. I am busier now than when I worked. I love the writing, but I have spent countless hours researching my ancestry and belong to several lineage groups. My husband and I take care of my 90 year old mother, so having a few outside interests seems to be a healthy choice as we age. Awesome hub.

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      4 years ago

      DDE, Thank you for visiting Devika, as always I appreciate your input and time.

      FlourishAnyway, Thank for stopping by. I agree with you, it is very hard for people who have stopped work. I think it is easier for women to find more enjoyable things to do, I believe men have a hard time getting to grips with so much time. Shelley

    • FlourishAnyway profile image


      4 years ago from USA

      One of the hardest things after you stop working permanently is figuring out what your purpose is the rest of your life. You provide some good guidance here for anyone making that transition as well as for the rest of us.

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 

      4 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      A purpose in life serves us greatly. Someone who does not know how to live or just from here to there is aimlessly living. Your point made loud and clear.

    • CyberShelley profile imageAUTHOR

      Shelley Watson 

      4 years ago

      billybuc, thank you for visiting and chiming in here. I couldn't imagine how hard it must be drift along aimlessly, not knowing where you're going or where you'll end up.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I love the message here, Shelley! Far too many people that I see don't seem to have a purpose...they just drift through life....I'll never understand it. :)


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