by Shelley Rae
Many of us struggle with getting caught up in a mundane life – the daily actions, motions, and behaviors that we just fell into. But what brought us to where we are and what we do with our lives today? Was any of it intentional? Was most of it unintentional? Are you living with intention, and making decisions with purpose and on purpose in your life? Are you experiencing and finding a fulfilling sense of purpose with your life, or are you waiting for it to find you? If you’re waiting, how long are you willing to wait? Do you believe it will just show up on your front door? Do you find value in having fulfillment and purpose in your life? Do you feel that it will come to you if you spend little to no time seeking it, or valuing it?
Most of the time, we must take time for self-reflection and introspection to truly understand how we tick, and what brings us complete fulfillment, satisfaction, and joy in our lives. Do we find it in our work? Do we find it during time spent with others? Do we find it in engaging in the hobbies we love the most? Do we find it in living out our best assets and skills that we were divinely given?
Whether we find our purpose in our daily job, or outside of it, the key importance is that we feel a sense of higher purpose in our lives. Studies now reveal that people who have a eudaimonic sense of wellbeing, the kind that comes from having a deep sense of purpose and meaning in life, show a more favorable gene expression than those who do not.
Researchers from UCLA’s Cousins Center for Psychoneuroimmunology and the University of North Carolina investigated how positive psychology impacts the human genome. During their study, they found the following:
People who have high levels of eudaimonic well-being, the kind of happiness that comes from having a deep sense of purpose and meaning in life, showed favorable gene-expression profiles in their immune cells by having low levels of inflammatory gene expression, and a strong expression of antiviral and antibody genes.
On the other hand, those who had relatively high levels of hedonic well-being, coming from self-gratification, actually showed an adverse expression profile involving high inflammation gene expression, and a low expression of antiviral and antibody genes.
“What this study tells us is that doing good and feeling good have very different effects on the human genome, even though they generate similar levels of positive emotion,” he said. “Apparently, the human genome is much more sensitive to different ways of achieving happiness than are conscious minds.” Steven Cole
The following are several questions to ask yourself to start reflecting on what brings you satisfaction, joy, and a sense of fulfillment in life. Ultimately, these questions will lead you to start exploring more meaning and a greater sense of purpose for your life:
1. What do you love to learn about on your own? What types of books, articles, or other means of education do you love to emerge yourself in when no one else is around? What particular studies or subjects?
2. What are your best, unique, and natural skills and talents? What do you naturally excel at?
3. What are the things that you value the most in life? About yourself? About an ideal job?
4. Thinking back on your life experiences, when was the last time you felt fulfilled doing a particular job, activity, or service? What specifically caused you to feel so satisfied or fulfilled?
5. If money was not an issue whatsoever, and a so-called “job” was not necessary, what would you truly desire to do with your life? Choose anything that fills your heart and spirit with joy.
6. When thinking about divine purpose, do you have an idea of what you feel created to do? If God were standing in front of you, what type of conversation would you have with Him? What do you think His response would be (if you were to genuinely guess)?
7. Do you feel like you are living with purpose today? If not, what is stopping you (fears, emotions, etc.)?
8. What truly motivates you in life? What are your key motivators?
I encourage you to meditate on your answers to determine if you are living a life of greater purpose.