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The Power of Purpose

Most Blue Zones cultures have different words for 'purpose' - the Okinawans call it "Ikigai" and the Nicoyans call it "Plan di vida." But, no what matter the culture, it all boils down to embodying one idea: why you wake up in the morning.

My husband and I are major fans of Dan Buettner's research behind The Blue Zones, a National Geographic project that reveals the secret lifestyle of centenarians (or people who live to be 100).

The "Power 9" is a set of lifestyle habits that the people of the Blue Zones have in common. Ken and I incorporate these habits to live a little better every day - and most importantly, develop a healthy lifestyle that's focused on longevity, rather than quick fixes.

With that, I'm excited to share a deeply important Blue Zones Lifestyle Habit #2: Purpose.

Having a purpose is directly correlated with longevity, brain health, and even the reduction of diseases like Alzheimer's or arthritis. Even more, according to Dr. Buettner's research, those who have a purpose in life lived up to 7 years longer than their peers who did not. Powerful stuff!

So, how do we cultivate purpose in our daily lives? Try summarizing your life purpose in one phrase. In order to do that, research suggests that pausing to reflect and do an 'internal inventory' of your principles, morals, and strengths can help give some direction. When you feel a strong emotional reaction to something, you know you're close!

Here are 12 tips from experts on how to find purpose in life:

  1. Develop a growth mindset that allows you to embrace challenges as opportunities.

  2. Create a personal vision statement.

  3. Give back.

  4. Practice gratitude.

  5. Turn your pain into purpose.

  6. Explore your passions.

  7. Be part of a community.

  8. Spend time with people who inspire you.

  9. Perform random acts of kindness - when you help others you are also helping yourself.

  10. Read fiction and non-fiction. This will help expand your mental horizons and critical and creative thinking.

  11. Write down your accomplishments both big and small.

  12. Self-care. Spend time on yourself.

What brings you purpose in your day-to-day life? I'd love to hear what motivates you to 'wake up each morning' - communicating your purpose is just as important as reflecting on it!

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