Posts Tagged ‘meaning’

Sometimes we get so consumed or caught up in the daily grind that we don’t give much thought to what drives us. Being intentional and living life with purpose can bring a sense of direction, meaning and contentment.

Surprisingly, only about 25% of American adults say they have a clear sense of what makes their lives meaningful, according to one study in The New York Times. Another 40% either claim to be neutral on the subject or report they don’t have a clear sense of purpose.

Why Do You Need a Sense of Purpose?

Feeling like what you do matters can contribute to life’s happiness. Purposeful living can also be good for your physical and mental health. A study published in Applied Psychology reported that individuals with a sense of purpose live longer and have better health outcomes, such as better sleep, stronger immune system and reduced risk of strokes, heart attacks and dementia.

Finding meaning and purpose is good for your brain! Living out your purpose can help encourage new cells and pathways in your brain. Having purpose can keep you motivated to take steps to improve other aspects of mental health.

When is the last time you gave thought to your purpose? Have you ever written it down?

One way to find your purpose is to ask yourself: What drives you? Have you experienced something that touches you so deeply that it drives you? Often, a powerful purpose is borne from powerful pain.

Steps to finding purpose:

  • Find what drives you
  • Find what energizes you
  • Find out what you’re willing to sacrifice for
  • Find out who you want to help
  • Find out how you want to help

Perhaps a purpose can be found where you already donate time, money or talent. This could include volunteering for a nonprofit organization, donating money to causes you care about, or simply helping out the people around you on a day-to-day basis. Listen to feedback from others around you for insight about your passion. You might already be displaying your passion and purpose without even realizing it.

Keep in mind your purpose doesn’t necessarily mean you have to change what you’re doing already. Finding your life purpose is a lifelong journey. Your purpose may change over time and that’s okay! If you want to explore some more, check out this worksheet with additional questions to help you discover your passion.

Writer: Shannon Carter, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Fairfield County, carter.413@osu.edu

Reviewer: Christine Kendle, Extension Educator, Family & Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Tuscarawas County, kendle.4@osu.edu


Davis, T. “Five Steps to Finding Your Life Purpose.” Psychology Today. Dec 2017. https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/click-here-happiness/201712/five-steps-finding-your-life-purpose

Morin, A. “7 Tips for Finding Your Purpose in Life.” Very Well Mind. Dec 2022. https://www.verywellmind.com/tips-for-finding-your-purpose-in-life-4164689

Scott, E. “The Link Between Happiness and Health.” Very Well Mind. Mar 2020. https://www.verywellmind.com/the-link-between-happiness-and-health-3144619

Smith, J. “How to Find Your Purpose in Life.” The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley. Jan 2018. https://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/how_to_find_your_purpose_in_life

Winona State University. Nov 2016. https://www2.winona.edu/resilience/media/questions-for-purpose-worksheet.pdf

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