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Last Updated on July 4, 2019

13 Ways Living with Purpose Make Your Life Happier and More Fulfilling

13 Ways Living with Purpose Make Your Life Happier and More Fulfilling

One of the greatest gifts as a human is the ability to choose how to live your life. The choice to be a parent or not; the choice to be college educated or choose an apprenticeship; or the choice to break the rules by designing your own future. Sure, the benefits of making the right choices are immense and the feeling of fulfillment even better.

But how would you feel you were forced to live a false life? Here’s an example:

You’re being forced to learn how to be a hair stylist and make it your occupation. No, it’s not your side hustle. Even worse, you are told to forget your loved ones and get married to someone you absolutely detest. Forget everything you’ve learned and loved, and instead, make this your sole career and relationship.

The amount of anguish and physical pain you might feel is akin to someone taking a precious object or livelihood away from you. This could lead to anxiety, depression, self-doubt, and an overall spiral into a web of negativity.

Yet, there are people who willingly or unwillingly live their lives based on society’s dictates and preferences. I’m talking about people who are constantly living outside their purpose and are unhappy about it. While sadness is an emotion that is as common as happiness, a constant state of sadness will cause you to slip into a pattern of automatic negative thoughts which can be more difficult to get out of.

So, how do you fix this? How do you stop living a life of false identities and instead honor your own calling and beliefs?

Without further ado, here are 13 ways living with purpose make your life happier and more fulfilling:

1. You feel grounded to a calling that is bigger than yourself.

While living with purpose won’t guarantee higher paychecks and fancy property, there is a desire to be part of something bigger than yourself. You want to be part of movements that positively impact the world and leave a legacy behind for future generation.

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Call it faith, mindfulness, or whatever it is you wish to align yourself with. This sense of anchor makes it possible to navigate through life by when you are able to visualize your existence on earth for a specific reason, which in turn enables you to spend more time to find your calling.

2. You help others live their purpose by empowering them.

An advantage to living in your purpose is that you discover your strengths and are more willing to be of service to your community. This is practically impossible if you lack self-awareness and are unable to translate the skills you have to helping others.

Sometimes, even if you do have the skills to help others, living an unintentional life casts a doubt of pessimism over you, blinding you of the opportunities to help others grow.

3. You engage with others from a point of healthy self-esteem.

As you go through life, your personality and attitudes become shaped by your experiences. However, negative events tend to leave you more vulnerable to self-doubt and crippling mindset challenges, which can cause your self-esteem to take a nose-dive.

Living with purpose is a powerful way to rehabilitate a sense poor self-esteem. When you change the way you feel about how adversity affects you, your confidence increases and you feel competent enough to deal with setbacks and even stand up as a change agent in situations with unknown outcomes.

4. Your physical and mental health will thank you.

Yes, your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Living a lifestyle not of your choosing can subject you to severe mental health decline. Anxiety begins to attack as you experience a rise in excessive worry, irritability, lack of concentration, among other things.

In fact, a Harvard article explains that researchers studied the risk of cardiovascular death between people who reported living with a sense of purpose and those who didn’t, and found the risk of death was 20 percent lower in those who reported living with purpose.[1]

5. Letting go of failure is easier.

Life becomes easier to navigate because you’re living with purpose. Note, I didn’t say easy because it’s never easy.

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That’s because choosing to pursue a life aligned with your purpose will stretch you and demand more from you. You will be required to grow and commit to continuous personal development.

However, it is easier to let go of failure without letting it fester into an emotional wound because you’re able approach life as an adventure rather than an “all or nothing” mindset.

It is easier to let go of failure because despite a few losses, you believe that you are on a creative, professional path that is designed just for you.

6. Forgiveness others and letting go of bitterness becomes easier.

Life becomes more peaceful when you no longer have to hold onto year-long grudges and misunderstandings that have caused you unhappiness. This isn’t to say that you become unfeeling to injustice or deliberate disrespect from others. Forgiveness does not excuse a wrong or action. Rather, people who choose to live a purposeful life are more inclined to choose peace over tension.

According to Andrea Brandt Ph.D. M.F.T., you actually might feel un willing to forgive despite knowing that you need to.[2] However, it takes a gradual process of acknowledging that what is done is done, releasing the hurt and suffering caused, and growing from it ordeal.

Living with purpose makes this process easier because you are more likely to understand that there is no “perfect” human.

7. Gratitude becomes an essential part of your life.

Interestingly, living a meaningful life opens your heart to feel thankful. When gratitude preludes your wants and desires, you’re inclined to live fully in the present, to savor and enjoy the relationships and things you do have.

When you live a purposeful life, you acknowledge the difference between needs and wants and make it a daily effort to remove your focus from what you do not have.

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8. You engage in positive behaviors.

When you’re living a happier life, you’re able to adopt healthy coping strategies when dealing with stress. According to Stephanie Hooker from Psychology Today:[3]

 “People who have a greater sense of meaning may be more likely to take care of themselves because they feel as if their lives matter more.”

This means more exercise, meditation, mindfulness, and less of drinking, smoking, and risky behaviors that will put your health and safety at risk.

9. You expand your worldview.

Unlike living in a world where everything is viewed in black and white, you become very sensitive to nuances, undertones, and challenges that plague daily communications, intercultural communications, and even business operations.

Having an open mind leads to craving a deeper sense of connection and understanding of the world around us, which allows for a higher level of thinking for better results in your career and business and business.

10. You develop more empathy for others.

Rather than living a life of assigning blame to others because they can’t seem to “pull themselves up by their bootstraps,” you understand that life is not a race.

You know that everyone is equal and experiences discomfort at certain times. You are also aware that it takes a loving and nurturing environments––not critical ones, to raise mentally-strong and balanced individuals who will go on to achieve greater things in life.

11. You pursue a values-based life.

Ever heard of some people always talking and breathing their core values? Well, that’s what living with purpose does.

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Let’s say you’re exposed to social issues that plague local and global communities. When you live with purpose, your work instantly gravitates towards solving these problems. This integration becomes more prominent because you find it difficult to extricate your what you do from how you are called to serve.

12. You are more aligned with your career.

When you are out of alignment, you are blind to the unassuming job opportunities that mask themselves as challenges or simple introductions. You take risks and make very unwise decisions about your career and/or business.

But success comes from within before it is ever manifested externally, and the only way to know this and acknowledge it is if you are purposefully living your life.

13. You gain clarity about the future despite uncertainties.

Uncertainty is always going to be a part of life. But it is in these moments that we either realize unspoken potential or let opportunities slip from our fingers.

However, a life lived with purpose recognizes uncertainty as the path to achieving something greater. This encourages you to engage with life from a place of genuine curiosity and wonder instead of anxiety and pessimism.

Final Thoughts

You have to be clear about what you want your life to look like and how you want to live it.

Whether you’re following trends or breaking societal rules, your personal joy and fulfillment is your responsibility.

After all, you only live once and you should find your meaning in it.

More About Living with Purpose

Featured photo credit: Candice Picard via unsplash.com

Reference

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Margaret Olatunbosun

Creative coach who teaches high-achievers how to thrive at the intersection of creativity, passion, and profit.

How to Use Visual Learning to Boost Your Career or Business 15 Best Interview Questions to Ask Employees During an Interview How to Sharpen Your Transferable Skills For a Swift Career Switch What Is an Apprenticeship (And How Does It Benefit Your Career)? 13 Ways Living with Purpose Make Your Life Happier and More Fulfilling

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Last Updated on September 17, 2019

30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit

30 Self-Care Habits for a Strong and Healthy Mind, Body and Spirit

I sat in the quiet, cold, white doctor’s office in Sydney, Australia. There was crinkly loud paper under my legs as I waited for my MRI results. I had been in pain for months and desperately wanted to know what was wrong. The doctor removed his glasses, pointed to the images, and told me I had a compressed disc in my lower back, narrowing of the spinal column and arthritis.

I was 21, living in a foreign country and alone. I burst into tears and all the worst-case scenarios ran through my head. He told me I could never run again, and worse, I would need to stop exercising completely for an indefinite period of time. Sports, activity, exercise, running, being athletic and adventurous – that was my identity and had been for most of my life. I went home and crawled in bed. I felt hopeless, defeated and depressed. My boyfriend at the time, now my husband, came over and tried to cheer me up. But it seemed nothing could do so.

My life as I knew it was over. If I couldn’t be an adventurous athlete, I wasn’t even sure who I was anymore.

This wasn’t the first time I had been told by a doctor never to run again. In fact, it was the fourth. The first was at the age of 16 after my first knee surgery to fix a torn meniscus. The second and third times were in college. Once was my sophomore year when I was training for a marathon. I have always wanted to run a marathon (and still do), but had to stop two weeks short of the finish line as I developed stress fractures in both of my femurs. The other, my junior year, I found myself on the surgery table, removing part of my meniscus. The doctor once again, as others before him, told me that I should never run again. I nodded my head, healed my knee, strengthened my leg in physical therapy and once again hit the pavement and the sports field.

Which leads us back to the doctor’s room in Sydney. This time it wasn’t my knee. It was my back. And the doctor told me if I chose not to listen this time, if I DID continue to run, that I could pinch a nerve, causing the potential for serious problems long term.

Pain I could handle, but the thought of being paralyzed, or worse, was not a risk I was willing to take. Continuing to ignore my doctor’s advice and push through the pain was not an option anymore.

It was time I started taking better care of myself and my body. It was time I learned what self-care looked like.

I hate the term self-care.

I have always cringed at the term self-care and therefore, any advice to follow it. Even today, the word still makes me uncomfortable. Something deep within me feels weak when I hear it; like I’m not tough enough or I can’t handle what life throws at me.

Maybe it’s because I’ve always been an athlete, or because I was raised in a fast paced, entrepreneurial family. At six-years-old, I remember walking behind my dad at the store. He kept a fast pace. I yelled ahead, “Wait up Dad, slow down!”. His reply, “Hurry up, speed up, catch up, run!”

So that’s what I did most of my life. I hurried up, sped up, caught up and ran. If I was in pain, I sucked it up and worked through it. If I was tired, I pushed through. If I was sad or upset, I pushed it aside and moved forward.

In my mind, self-care meant slowing down, not progressing; for those who couldn’t keep up. To use a term from my grandpa, I thought self-care was for ‘sissies.’

But what I didn’t realize until that wake-up call in the doctor’s office was that self-care is the very thing that allows us to do everything we want to do in and with our lives.

It is what gives us the energy, strength and resilience to keep going.

I want to emphasize something I wish someone had told me. Maybe someone did, but I needed them to take me by the shoulders, shake me, look me in the eye and say it.

Self-care isn’t for sissies. Self-care is not for the weak. It is not a luxury. And it is not selfish.

When you don’t take care of yourself, are too hard on your body, or don’t take care of your emotional needs, you are at much higher risk for burnout, a variety of mental health issues including anxiety and depression, physical injury and illness.

Not taking care of yourself will always catch up to you. Sound familiar? Perhaps you’ve had a wake-up call of your own.

Why Is Self-Care Important?

Self-care is quite literally taking care of yourself. It isn’t just about getting a massage. It is any action you take to preserve and improve your health, wellness, happiness and fulfillment.

We’ve all heard the saying, “you can’t pour from an empty cup” or “put on your own oxygen mask before assisting others.” These are self-care. You cannot take care of others if you do not take care of yourself first. This takes on a whole new meaning when you also have kids and a family.

    self

    Self-care is doing what needs to be done so you can be balanced and energized to achieve all that you want out of life. Self-care nourishes your mind, body and spirit and allows you to thrive. It increases your happiness, ability to be successful and the quality of your life and relationships.

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    When I look at it that way, not as something for the weak, but as something to help us live our best lives, then instead of becoming an ‘nice to have’ it becomes an important and essential part of life. In fact, I now know it’s the only way to live my fullest life.

      That’s why I’ve pulled together 30 ways to practice self-care so you can live your best life. I’ve got you covered from an integrative wellness approach – mentally, emotionally, physically and spiritually.

      How to Practice Self-Care: 30 Ways to Take Care of Yourself

      Let’s start with the basics. These are self-care practices you can do daily. Many take very little time or energy, and most can be done in less than five minutes, some in less than one.

        1. Breathe

        Deep breathing increases circulation by bringing oxygen to your muscles and brain. This increased oxygen content leads to greater energy and healthier muscles, organs and tissues. Breathe deeply more often. What happened when you started to read this? Did you take a deep breath? Great, you’re already practicing self-care.

        2. Eat Well

        Your body is a machine and food is your fuel. Simple as that. I’ve learned two main things studying diets over the years and working with top health doctors:

        First, focus on eating real, whole, nutrient-dense food; avoid processed foods and refined sugars.

        Secondly, find what works for you. There are lots of options out there – pale0, Mediterranean, plant-based, you name it.

        3. Stay Hydrated

        The human body is composed of 50-65% water. Some parts of our bodies, like our brain, heart and lungs, are more than 70%. Drinking water is a simple, effective way to take care of yourself.

        Aim to drink eight 8-ounce glasses daily. It takes no extra time, energy and effort, so grab a glass and start hydrating.

        4. Sleep

        I used to wear it as a badge of honor that I didn’t sleep much. However, increasingly more studies are coming out on the importance of getting enough quality sleep[1] and, more importantly, the consequences when you don’t. Make sleep a priority. Your mind and body will thank you.

        5. See Your Doctor

        How long have you been putting off making an appointment, tolerating constant pain or dealing with something that just isn’t right?

        Most things can be dealt with if they’re caught early – and are much harder to manage if you wait. Grab your phone, schedule an appointment now.

        6. Express Gratitude

        In order to live a life we love, we must first love the life we live. Research continues to surface on the science and benefits of gratitude.[2]

        Being grateful is one of the simplest, yet most powerful, things you can do to take care of yourself. Here’re 40 Simple Ways To Practice Gratitude.

        7. Take Supplements

        Name what ails you and research or ask your doctor what vitamins, minerals, or herbs can support your health and well-being. For example, those with a B-12 deficiency are much more likely to experience anxiety and Vitamin D deficiency has been linked to all sorts of health problems.

        I take turmeric/curcumin to reduce inflammation,[3] and B2 and magnesium supplements recommended by my neurologist for hormonal migraines.

        Always make sure to check the quality and efficacy.

        8. Hug Your Kid, Spouse or Pet

        Hugging boosts your oxytocin levels (the love hormone), increases serotonin (elevates mood and creates happiness), strengthens the immune system, boosts self-esteem, lowers blood pressure, balances the nervous system and releases tension. Only a few seconds can put you in a positive mood.

          9. Meditate

          Yep, you knew this was coming, didn’t you? Check out how to meditate here . And, if you’re one of those people who think you can’t meditate (I feel you, I was one of you!), no more excuses. Try it.

          10. Get Bodywork

          I said that massage wasn’t the only form of self-care, but it is a good one!

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          Bodywork is a staple of my self-care routine. Our bodies store emotional tension in ways that we don’t even realize, and bodywork allows us to release that tension.

          Options include chiropractic, stretching, cranial-sacral therapy, myofascial release work, osteopathy and reflexology.

          11. Take a Hike

          Get the blood flowing. We all know the benefits of exercise. This might be a walk, run, hike, trip to the gym, yoga or stretching. Whatever you do, get your blood and body moving.

          Feel like you don’t have time? Try this short, 4-minute workout:

          12. Spend Time with Those You Love

          Schedule a date night with your partner, a special day with your kiddo or happy hour with your BFF. We are biologically hardwired for relationships and connection.

          Studies prove that people who socialize often have higher levels of happiness. This doesn’t have to be face-to-face; sometimes a phone call is all you need (and can fit in!).

          13. Take a Vacation (or a Staycation)

          More than 50% of Americans don’t use all of their vacation days. Take time off away from the routine of life. Make time to have fun, recover and reenergize.

          14. Do Something Just for Fun

          When was the last time you did something because it was fun or gave you joy? Not because it had a tangible benefit, purpose or ROI?

          Crank up the music and dance. Laugh with your kids. Head to the bowling alley. Play a game. Write. Buy flowers. Follow your passions. Attend a fun event.

          The real ROI? A better, more energized, happier self.

          15. Treat Yourself and Your Body

          When you look good, you feel good.

          Get a haircut, have your nails done, enjoy a facial, manicure or pedicure. When we take care of how we look physically, we feel better emotionally.

          16. Spend Time in Nature

          Studies have shown spending time in nature has a wide range of health benefits including lowering your stress hormone levels.[4]

          Get outside. Head to the forest, hit the beach or take a hike. Walking barefoot and ‘grounding’ can be especially healing.

            17. Eliminate Toxicity and Negativity

            Make a conscious effort to hang out with people who feed your soul and make you feel energized and alive. Eliminate or reduce the amount of time you spend with people and situations that drain you or leave you feeling exhausted.

            Surround yourself with love, encouragement and positive energy.

            18. Take a Bath

            This is a simple and inexpensive way to take care of yourself.

            Add in a little Epsom Salts, essential oils or that bath bomb you have lying around. Light a candle, sit back, relax and unwind.

            19. Practice Self-Reflection

            Self-reflection is about taking a step back and reflecting on your life, behavior and beliefs.

            Take time regularly to hop off the hamster wheel of life. Think about what’s working and what’s not, acknowledge your wins and successes; identify what to keep and what needs to change.

            Try journaling or check out tips for self-reflection here: How Self-Reflection Gives You a Happier and More Successful Life

            20. Feed Your Mind

            Learn something new! As humans, we have a need to use our full cognitive capacity. We are here to grow and evolve and learning is a huge piece of us feeling energized and alive.

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            Take a class or online course. Read a book. Listen to a podcast.

            21. Lend a Hand

            We also have a need for significance, contribution and making a difference. Among many other benefits , volunteering has been shown to help people feel healthier and happier.

            22. Unpack your Baggage

            Self-care is about taking care of your whole self. Often this means dealing with emotional trauma, past events or limiting beliefs.

            See a therapist. Talk to a coach. Have the conversation you need to have with that person you’ve been angry with for decades. Find a way to move forward.

            23. Be Adventurous

            Get outside your comfort zone. Be brave. Challenge yourself.

            Whether that be a backpacking trip, trying a new activity, or pushing yourself physically, mentally or emotionally, you’ll feel proud, confident and strong.

            24. Tidy up!

            There’s a reason Marie Kondo has become a sensation. When we seek minimization in our homes, schedules, and lives, we feel more at ease and less stressed.

            Try simplifying one area of your life and experience a new level of peace. Have a read on Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing, it may inspire you a lot!

            25. Feed Your Spirit

            How are you feeding your soul? This can be anything that relates to you feeling inspiration which means, ‘in spirit’.

            Connect with what makes you feel close to something deeper, bigger, higher – or makes you feel more connected to yourself. This might include meditation, spiritual or religious study.

            26. Get Creative

            We all have a need to grow, use our creativity and express ourselves fully. Find your creative outlet. Paint, dance or take photos.

            Not artistically creative? Ask questions, problem-solve or build something.

            One of my daughters loves building. When she ideates, draws up plans and brings them to life, she is noticeably happier and more confident.

            27. Be True to Yourself

            Self-awareness and being true to yourself are essential to living a happy, fulfilled and successful life; therefore, these are critical elements of self-care.

            Listen to your inner voice. Identify what you need. When we are out of alignment with ourselves, we are more stressed, overwhelmed and at higher risk for health issues.

            Here are 11 ways to be true to you: How To Be True To You When Life Pulls You Off Track

              28. Set Boundaries

              This is important to healthy relationships, a strong sense of self-esteem and healthy life. You must know what you will and won’t accept.

              Identify where energy is leaking out from your life. If you continue to give when you have nothing to give or say ‘yes’ when you mean ‘no’, you will continue to suffer.

              Know, acknowledge and honor your limits and boundaries – physically and emotionally.

              29. Escape

              While avoidance and numbing can be detrimental, a little escape can help recharge your batteries.

              So watch that reality TV show without guilt, catch the latest movie, delve into that novel, or head to the museum. What transports you and completely allows you to shut off?

              30. Be Nice to Yourself

              Be kind, patient and understanding. Treat yourself like you would a close friend. Speak to yourself as you would someone you love.

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              You are enough. You are doing enough.

              Give yourself a break, a little more love and a lot more compassion.

              You are doing a great job – time to tell yourself that.

              Start Taking Care of Yourself Now!

              Now you have 30 ways to take care of yourself! However, you may still have nagging thoughts in the back of your head about why you can’t.

              Ditch Your Excuses

              Here are the most common excuses I hear with a strategy to help:

              I don’t have time for it.

              How many hours per day do you spend watching TV or on social media? Some studies show that the average adult spends over four hours watching TV and over two on social media. What if you took just half that to take care of yourself? Or 1/10th?! We all have the same 24 hours in a day.

              It’s what you choose to do with that time that counts. Many of the suggestions above require no time at all. Take a breath, drink an extra glass of water, speak nicely to yourself, grab an apple.

              I don’t need it.

              Trust me, if you don’t take care of yourself now, you’re going to get that wake-up call one day, if you haven’t already.

              I guarantee it’s going to take a lot more time and energy to fix what’s broken than to take care of it along the way. You have a responsibility to do this for yourself.

              I’m too tired.

              Great! Take a nap. Then you’ve done your self-care for the day. No joke.

              Too often when we are tired, we drink coffee, reach for a sugary snack or find some other way to distract ourselves.

              Self-care is different from day to day. Some days it will be harder than others. Each of the items on the list are meant to GIVE you energy, not take it away. You’ll be amazed at how much more energized and awake you feel after one of these practices.

              It‘s just too hard.

              One big reason people don’t get started is because they think it’s going to be hard. Don’t fall into this trap and do nothing at all.

              Choose something that feels simple and easy to do – and do it. There is no step too small.

              Know Your Motivation

              It’s not the action of self-care that’s most important. It’s about what you get by taking care of yourself.

              What is the real value or importance of self-care in your life?

              To be a better mom, look good, be healthier, have more energy, reduce your stress levels, feel better, see your grandkids graduate from college, get that promotion, sustain the business you’re building, perform at your very best?

              Know your why so you can tap into the motivation for taking care of yourself. If you’re doing this because you ‘should’, it just won’t happen or be sustainable. You must do this because you see value, purpose and benefits at some level. What are those for you?

              Final Thoughts

              “Take care of your body, it’s the only place you have to life” – Jim Rohn

              Self-care is about doing what makes you feel good – mind, body and spirit.

              If you remember only one thing:

              Do more of what makes you feel good, brings you energy and joy and do less of what doesn’t.

              Had I taken better care of myself in my late teens and my early twenties, I might have avoided two knee surgeries, stress fractures and arthritis. Had I taken better care of myself in my thirties, perhaps I could have avoided anxiety and a near breakdown . But that was my journey and it led me here. And I have to say, I’m pretty happy where here is.

              So now, in my forties, while I still may cringe at the term, I pay attention to and practice self-care. And I often wonder if maybe, just maybe, I continue to take good care of myself, I may just be able to run that marathon one day after all.

              More About Practicing Self-Care

              Featured photo credit: Samantha Gades via unsplash.com

              Reference

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