“There is only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that's your own self.” -Aldous Huxley

What is considered having a sense of purpose? According to a study conducted in 2010 (1) by a method of asking questions to participants regarding how satisfied they were with their life. The BRFSS (Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance system) is an on-going, state-based questionnaire consisting of core questions asked in all 50 states, including the District of Columbia and US territories.  In the cross-cultural research, those who were older with higher levels of education and higher income, showed higher levels of subjective well-being. 

You may have the job you want, great social circle, the family you dreamed of, in the town you see yourself living in for the rest of your life. Even if you don't have all of these things, you're okay with it. But something is missing. You take a step back and yet you can't put your finger on what that something is. Well, you're not alone. About a third  of the population in the United States alone don't feel having a clear sense of purpose, making life seem meaningless. 

Well-being has two perspectives, the hedonic approach which focuses on pleasure attainment and pain avoidance, and the eudaimonic approach which focuses on the deeper meaning and self-realization. Many in academia would argue that the eudiamonic approach is more aligned with true happiness since the act is expressed because it is worth doing  and not for the sake of momentary pleasure.

What can you do to find your purpose?

You can find a deep sense of purpose that gives you meaning and makes you happy by doing things such as caring for a loved one (2).  You can surround yourself with positive people, learn something new, volunteer at charity events or create one meaninful to you. One study showed that finding your purpose can reduce the risk of illnesses like depression, mild cognitive function impairment and developing Alzheimer's (3).

Our articles are backed by fact-based resources.

1. Kobau, R., Bann, C., Lewis, M., Zack, M. M., Boardman, A. M., Boyd, R., . . . Lucas, R. E. (2013). Mental, social, and physical well-being in new hampshire, oregon, and washington, 2010 behavioral risk factor surveillance system: Implications for public health research and practice related to healthy people 2020 foundation health measures on well-being. Population Health Metrics, 11 doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.library.berkeley.org/10.1186/1478- 7954-11-19

2.  Khullar, D. (2018, January 01). Finding Purpose for a Good Life. But Also a Healthy One. Retrieved from https://www.nytimes.com/2018/01/01/upshot/finding-purpose-for-a-good-life-but-also-a-healthy-one.html

3.  Cognitive function is better in people with a purpose in life. (2010). Nursing Standard (through 2013), 24(34), 17. Retrieved from http://ezproxy.library.berkeley.org/login? qurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.proquest.com%2Fscholarly-journals%2Fcognitive-function-is-better-people-with-purpose%2Fdocview%2F219859784%2Fse-2%3Faccountid%3D38129

4. Ryan, R. M., & Deci, E. L. (2001). On happiness and human potentials: A review of research on hedonic and eudaimonic well-being. Annual Review of Psychology, 52, 141-66. doi:http://dx.doi.org.ezproxy.library.berkeley.org/10.1146/annurev.psych.52.1.141