Boost Your Mood: Find More Happiness
Discover Your Purpose
Devoting time and attention to something that gives your life meaning -- a goal to work toward or a passion that fulfills you -- can be a constant source of joy. "Research has shown that people who have the clearest idea of their purpose in life have the easiest access to happiness," says Baker.
Your sense of purpose doesn't have to be grandiose; you don't need to make a mint or cure the common cold. Purpose is simply a matter of discovering what you're passionate about -- spending time with family, playing tennis, advancing in your career, gardening, traveling -- and dedicating your energy toward that. "You can develop your sense of purpose by recognizing the day-to-day things that invigorate you and make you feel like your best self," Baker explains. For example, if you enjoy problem solving at work, think about how you can become your company's go-to troubleshooter.
For this exercise, ask yourself the following questions to help you identify your passions:
- What makes me feel most energized and excited?
- What do I want to be known as?
- What could I talk about nonstop?
- Which activities can I get so caught up in that I lose track of time?
Once you begin to develop answers, think about how often you do the things that are so important to you. Are there aspects of your life that you love but have shunted off to the pile of things you'll get to when you have more time? Your goal here is to figure out what's missing and to start integrating that more fully into your daily existence. "Consciously pursuing activities that make you feel more engaged will not only increase your capacity for happiness but also your chances of finding it," says Baker.
Originally published in FITNESS magazine, October 2006.
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