Like fine wine, you can age gracefully. Maintaining an active lifestyle as you age keeps your body healthy, and so does making smarter food choices. However, there’s more to healthy aging than exercise and a well-balanced diet.
Having a sense of purpose can do wonders for your health and happiness. In an interview with Margaret Manning, Dr. Sanjiv Chopra, former Faculty Dean at Harvard Medical School, illustrates how our search for meaning influences our journey to healthy aging.
Why You Need to Find a Sense of Purpose
Living with purpose makes you happier as you age. If you embrace a purpose-driven life, you are more likely going to outlive those who aren’t motivated by such aspirations. Having a strong sense of purpose will inspire you to pursue a healthier, happier life.
Even as you face the mental and physical changes caused by aging, a sense of purpose will motivate you to set meaningful goals and empower you to pursue them. You can stay mentally and physically active in your pursuit of these goals. As a result, you can improve your health and well-being.
What Gives Meaning to Your Life?
Only you – and you alone – have the answer to this question. Like many people, you might not be able to find what you’re looking for right away. However, you can try and try again until you finally understand what gives meaning to your life.
In your search for purpose, you can reflect on it alone or engage in discussions with your friends. Keeping a written record of everything you do in a day might also help you figure out your purpose in life. By rating each item on that list from one to ten (ten being the highest), you can understand what activities make you the happiest and which ones make you miserable.
At the end of the month, cross off everything you rated from one to six. Focus on the activities that are marked seven to ten because your purpose in life is most likely going to be one of those.
How Can You Cultivate a Sense of Purpose?
Sometimes, people realize their purpose in life after witnessing tragedy, much like Colombian national Jaime Jaramillo Uribe, who is popularly called Papa Jaime. After witnessing the tragic death of a 7-year-old child, he knew what he wanted to do in life – save as many orphans as he could.
However, your purpose doesn’t need to be as bold and audacious as Papa Jaime’s. Even the simplest of acts like taking care of your grandchild or tending a garden can motivate you to keep going in life. Doing these small acts of kindness can make a difference in the lives of others as well as your own.
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