“PARA kanino ka bumabangon?” This is a tagline used by a leading coffee brand in one of its advertisements that left a relevant question among many Filipinos, especially for those who work hard for a living.
The pandemic threatens not only our physical health but even our psychological wellness. The challenges and difficulties especially those who have infected family members are not normal kinds of problems. Losing our focus because of many distractions and having no clear purpose in life can make a person lose hope that contributes to mental challenges.
Purpose in life is one of the themes that became an important component in the field of religion, philosophy and human behavior.
“An unexamined life is not worth living” is Socrates’ rendition of saying that life must have meaning and purpose. Even the book of Rick Warren, “The Purpose Driven Life” became the New York Times bestseller list for 90 weeks in 2012 and distributed 50 million copies in different languages all over the world.
The topic of purpose in life is one of the life attitudes that became the subject for important study in behavioral sciences.
Can having a clear purpose in life make a significant difference even in this time of crisis?
Victor Frankl experienced living as a prisoner in a concentration camp in World War II. “Frankl noticed that fellow prisoners who had a sense of purpose showed greater resilience to the torture, slave labor, and starvation rations to which they were subjected.”
This thought opens the doors in studying more the value of Life’s purpose in one’s quality of life.
Purpose of life
“A purpose in life represents a stable and generalized intention to accomplish something that is at once personally meaningful and at the same time leads to productive engagement with some aspect of the world beyond the self.” (Damon, W., Menon, J., & Bronk, K. C. (2003). The development of purpose during adolescence. Applied Developmental Science, 7, 119-128.). This meaning entails three things, it must be a life-long goal that we aim to achieve, it must be meaningful and it must be inspired by the desire to make a difference outside of ourselves.
Benefits of having a Life’s Purpose
A study by Templeton foundation found out that having a clear purpose in life is a good predictor for physical and mental wellness.
They found out in the research that people with life’s purpose are less likely to: develop cardiovascular disease, produce cortisol and stress hormones, and increase cholesterol levels.
They also found out that they are more likely to be satisfied in life and more likely to pursue a healthy lifestyle.
Even among students who are more definite with their life’s purpose are the ones who have academic achievements than those who have unclear life’s purpose. (2018, The psychology of purpose. A research created by John Templeton Foundation)
Each of us can have the liberty to create our purpose in this life. Having one will help us be sane in this anxiety-provoking situation.
Let me share with you one verse in the Bible that helped me pursue my own purpose in life. “What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?.”
At the time that I was contemplating what to pursue in my career in high school, this verse hit me hard. This verse posed so many questions about my purpose in life. I hope to expand this next week but for now, let’s try to answer these questions:
What is the greatest value I have in life?
When will this value last?
Does this value surpass the value of other things that I may be tempted to pursue in life?
How can my value be translated into a purpose in life?
How can my purpose in life make me a better person?
How can a purpose in life help me to face the crisis we are into at the moment?
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