The Art and Science of Purpose

The Art and Science of Purpose

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Across all ages, people with a sense of purpose had a 15% lower risk of early death compared with those who said they felt aimless ㄧ Can we improve our lives with the power of our minds?

The Psychology of Willpower

“The secret to doing anything is believing that you can do it. Anything that you believe you can do strong enough, you can do. Anything. As long as you believe.” ー Bob Ross

Reasons for Stress:

  • Future 63%
  • Money 62%
  • Work 61%

Long Term Effects of Stress and Trauma:

  • Decreased ability to tolerate uncertainties
  • Fear of failure and rejection
  • Disruption in work or personal success
  • Susceptibility to low mood, anxiety, and sleeping problems

While these tactics may not replace professional medical treatment, there are ways to find peace within yourself:

Reframe Negative Thoughts and Experiences
Reframing is a cognitive behavioral technique that helps you to:

  • Change the meaning of something
  • Alter the way you feel about that thing
  • And thus control your experience with it

Problems can be framed as challenges ㅡ and opportunities to learn resilience

The Importance of Purpose

University of Michigan Health and Retirement Survey
7,000 individuals over 50 answered a short questionnaire on psychological well-being
Respondents were followed for several years
Those who initially reported low levels of purposefulness were 2.4X more likely to pass away during the study
The conclusion? A purposeful life may have health benefits

“The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well” – Ralph Waldo Emerson

Build Your Purpose

What Gives Us Meaning?

  • Family 69%
  • Career 34%
  • Hobbies 19%
  • Learning 11%

Close-Knit Relationships

  • Children or grandchildren 34%
  • Partner 20%
  • Friends 19%
  • Community 7%

Connection has been found to be important for happiness and meaning
Helping others promotes purpose among self-proclaimed “givers”

A Fulfilling Job

3 in 4 millennials want a job where they feel like their work matters
BUT millennials aren’t the only generation to prioritize purpose over pay

  • Baby Boomers 48%
  • Gen X 38%

Inspired employees are 2.25X more productive than unhappy counterparts

Inspiring Activities
Hobbies may improve quality of life and even extend longevity for older persons
Nature and creative habits are most likely to be a main source of meaning

  • Enjoying the outdoors 47%
  • Listening to music 44%
  • Reading 37%

Lifelong Learning
87% of adults enrolled in liberal arts classes experienced better motivation, social interaction, and life satisfaction
Parents with positive learning experiences are more supportive of their children’s education and academic wellbeing

Americans tend to define themselves by career and caretaking ㄧ how do you keep or find a purpose after retirement and parenthood?

Growing Older with Peace and Purpose

Prolonging Quality of Life
Seniors who had goals were less likely to develop disability risk factors
64% credit their quality of life to contentment with themselves and their actions
More than 9 in 10 emphasize the importance of living in the present

“Fall in love with some activity, and do it! Nobody ever figures out what life is all about, and it doesn’t matter” – Richard Feynman, famed physicist

Find Your “Why” At Any Age

Contemplative activities
Meditation, yoga, and tai chi can help foster inner reflection
Regular gentle exercise can even increase lifespan by 3-5 years
Creative endeavors
Art helps express feelings and tell your personal story
Seniors participating in cognitive behaviors such as playing an instrument had a 63% lower risk of dementia
Continue education
Learning can sharpen cognition and foster a feeling of worldly connection
Older adults participating in school reported better memory and lower levels of depression

“It is not true that people stop pursuing dreams because they grow old, they grow old because they stop pursuing dreams” – Gabriel García Márquez

Find your purpose and prolong your quality of life ㄧat any age

The Art and Science of Purpose

Sources:
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4224996/
https://www.apa.org/news/press/releases/stress/2017/state-nation.pdf
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-mindful-self-express/201809/how-ptsd-and-trauma-affect-your-brain-functioning
https://themighty.com/2018/12/how-to-reframe-anxiety-thoughts-using-cbt/
https://qz.com/1628452/a-sense-of-purpose-could-prolong-your-life/
https://hrs.isr.umich.edu/about?_ga=2.89226203.1197021265.1563722955-758556796.1563722955
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/64541-the-purpose-of-life-is-not-to-be-happy-it
http://www.bell-project.eu/cms/wp-content/uploads/2014/06/BeLL-Survey-results.pdf
https://www.pewforum.org/2018/11/20/where-americans-find-meaning-in-life
https://pdfs.semanticscholar.org/ee15/73258ebd25a33cc545b311c630cc41a38842.pdf
https://business.linkedin.com/talent-solutions/recruiting-tips/global-talent-trends-2019#
https://hbr.org/2015/12/engaging-your-employees-is-good-but-dont-stop-there
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4919481/
https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/2648692
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3593659/
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/77513-fall-in-love-with-some-activity-and-do-it-nobody
https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10902-006-9021-6
https://www.nextavenue.org/5-tips-find-meaning-and-purpose-later-life/
https://home.bt.com/lifestyle/health/wellness/7-benefits-of-exercise-for-the-elderly-11364144390476
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/media-spotlight/201210/can-lifelong-learning-help-we-age
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/263937799_Promoting_Active_Aging_Through_University_Programs_for_Older_Adults
https://www.goodreads.com/quotes/174092-it-is-not-true-that-people-stop-pursuing-dreams-because
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/stronger-the-broken-places/201712/reframing
https://www.huffpost.com/entry/bob-ross-quotes_n_563138b3e4b00aa54a4c9271

The Art and Science of Purpose