Experiencing Happiness as You Pursue Your Life’s Purpose

Posted on: May 9, 2020, by :
Photo by Carolyn V on Unsplash

4 Elements of Self-care that Compel Action

To be happy, you need understanding—understanding of what happiness is and isn’t, and a commitment to making the time and effort to take care of yourself as you move through life.

In 2019, after budget cuts at my place of employment, I found myself unemployed after 19 years with the one employer. I had amassed over 30 years of total work experience at this point. I was starting over in my 50’s, determined to use what I’d learned to help others while also tapping into my strengths and interests.

Within a few months, my husband was in a vehicle accident and we were soon focused on his rehabilitation. We were fortunate and grateful that his accident wasn’t worse. My path became obvious at this point, I was destined to focus on self-care—his and mine. It’s one thing to write about self-care but it’s another entirely when your life depends upon it. We are still learning, but we have learned a great deal during the past several months. Helping others set and realize self-care goals became my purpose. My belief in possibility was re-affirmed. People need to understand what’s possible and they need guidance and support to achieve goals.

In the words of Saint Francis of Assisi, “Start by doing what’s necessary, then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” Happiness can begin with pursuit of purpose.

But it cannot end there. To be actionable, the pursuit needs a plan, a starting point at the very least. People need motivation to get started and results to stay engaged in the longer term. The secret is to take steps that are doable while challenging yourself to make continual progress. Eventually the results materialize and staying motivated is easier. Progress and realizing goals become exciting and motivation increases.

Four key aspects can help you experience happiness as you pursue your life’s purpose.

Here are the elements I found helpful and examples of how they materialized in my life.

Emotional health and positive behaviors

When assessing our emotional health, we can ask, “How well do I manage my feelings when dealing with challenges?” This helps us see ourselves in terms of our overall ability to navigate change.

To me, positive emotional health is critical. When we are healthy in this regard, we are better prepared to deal with change, and change is the one constant upon which we can rely. This ability promotes resiliency and helps us adapt to changes easier. 

Focusing on positive behaviors provides several benefits including less stress, advanced social skills, and confidence.

Behaviors that support positive well-being and good health can foster a sense of purpose. Volunteering, helping others, and expressing empathy can also help you experience happiness as you pursue your life’s purpose.

Physical health and nutrition

Next, we must have a clear idea of what is needed to be healthy. This answers the question, “How do I become healthy?” For example, we are focused on self-care, so our daily activities help us physically, emotionally, spiritually, and socially.

Here are a few other examples:

  • We focus on healthy eating and strive to make food choices that contribute to good health.
  • We meet daily water intake goals.
  • We are active in various ways every day.

Again, our full plans are more detailed, but this gives a snapshot of our daily practice.

Emotional health and social connectivity

Third, a self-care plan will answer the questions, “What must I do to achieve overall well-being?” Of all of the options in the world, which ones should I choose to contribute to my self-care goals and happiness? What characterizes well-being, and how will I know when I am achieving it?

Being social and maintaining meaningful relationships contributes to our emotional health. By ensuring we remain connected with others, we have opportunities to add values to their lives, which in turn brings us happiness and helps give us a sense of fulfillment. 

Reflection and spiritual exploration

Finally, activities that help us experience happiness as we pursue our life’s purpose involves lifestyle changes. This answers the questions, “What needs to change?” If we are to be successful, what must we change to achieve our self-care goals?

This involves reflection and making adjustments as needed to how we spent our time. We’re also open to trying new experiences and hobbies. You may want to do this as well and also think about who you’re spending your time with and if the value you give and receive isn’t what it should be, determine if you can make changes to improve the relationship. It may be time to sunset the friendship, valuing it for what it once was.

Finding happiness can be healing. Changing the aspects in your life that are negative can be helpful. Setting boundaries can help regulate your mood and energy levels.

Spiritual exploration can be meaningful and provide peacefulness while offering a sense of connection to a power greater than ourselves.

Wisdom is usually a by-product of age. Our experiences help us learn and grow and what we learn can help guide us throughout our lives. Many discover that life is not about the possessions we accumulate, it’s about the experiences we have and the time spent with those we care about. Our experiences help us learn about ourselves and the world. Often, we come to understand or at least appreciate, what role or purpose we have while we’re here on Earth and if we’re fortunate, we experience happiness along the way.

Key Takeaways:

  • Make the time and effort to take care of yourself as you move through life.
  • Reflect and make adjustments to how you spend your time so your behavior is better aligned with your goals.
  • Change is the one constant we can count on through life.