Real Stories

How Joy and Life Purpose Boost Your Mental Health

Why bother going to work today? Why bother showering? Why even bother getting out of the bed in the morning? If you have answers to all of those questions, it means your life has a purpose and your mental health is not suffering. When you feel a sense of awe about life, you’re statistically less likely to experience a variety of physical health issues as well as mental health issues. So how does having joy and life purpose boost your psychological state?

What is a meaningful life?

This is very hard, if not impossible, to define because each person finds meaning in different things. However, in general, if you feel like your life makes sense and that you’re on this earth for a reason, your life has meaning. But, you can’t just tell yourself that you matter and get ready to reap the benefits of your new life outlook. You need to remind yourself every day what those things are that give your life purpose. When you realize what makes your life meaningful, you’ll be truly happy.

It can help you reduce stress

Having a clear goal in life and the knowledge of what matters most can help you reduce frustration and annoyances while filtering your worries. This won’t allow you to get out of those nerve-racking traffic jams, deadlines, or coworkers, but your stress levels may reduce and you’ll manage to have better control over the situation.

On the other hand, feeling like everything you do is in vain and nothing truly matters can significantly increase your stress levels. For instance, if you feel like human life is a meaningless rut and there’s nothing you can do about it, you’ll most likely experience a greater amount of stress on a day-to-day basis.

In order to find meaning in your life that will allow you to de-stress, you need to dig deep into your wishes and dreams. Even if you know what questions to ask and where to look, the answer may escape you. Don’t worry, finding meaning in life is a hard task that can’t be rushed. You can start by examining your personality. Creative people who yearn for innovations might find that going back to an institution like The Masters Institute of Creative Education can be a perfect way to get better at a specific field, define their path in life and find a way to express their feelings, ideas and wishes. Sometimes, working on your mind can be a direct path to finding your meaning in life!

It can improve your coping mechanisms

When faced with a challenge or a dangerous situation, people who have a life purpose usually choose healthier and more effective coping strategies than those who wander through life aimlessly. For instance, people with a strong sense of purpose undergoing surgery exhibit better pain coping mechanisms and report better health after recovery.

It can reduce depression and boost physical health

When you feel like your life matters, you’re more likely to take better care of your mental and physical health. It makes perfect sense, since having good overall health is a means to achieve your ultimate purpose in life—you can’t function at top-level when sick. People with a higher sense of awe and life purpose not only exercise more and eat better, but they are also more likely to take preventive mental and physical health steps like going to therapy and having positive blood pressure and cholesterol tests.

It makes you more connected with the world

Experiencing a sense of awe—a sense of being a part of this wonderful world that’s so much larger than just yourself—it can inspire people to be more kind, giving, forgiving and loving towards others. There are no empirical proofs why that happens, but there are theories that state that awe-struck experiences pull people out of their head and allow them to live in the moment. And the feeling that you’re a part of something bigger than yourself translates into more positive and generous behaviors that can have amazing effects on your mental health.

When you have a purpose in life, everything seems a lot easier and better, no matter if you have to go to that boring meeting or that doctor’s appointment. Your life definitely counts and make sure to remind yourself that every day to be happier and healthier in every sense.

If you liked this piece, be sure to check out Getting Through Anxiety One Word at a Time

by Diana Smith

Diana Smith is a full time mother of two beautiful girls interested in health related topics and alternative medicine.

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