At Brookdale, through our Optimum Life program we have a wellness theme every year that relates to one of the six dimensions of wellness. For those of you who don’t know, the six dimensions are: Physical, Emotional, Purposeful, Social, Spiritual and Intellectual. This year our theme relates to the purposeful dimension and is titled Be Well on Purpose.
I believe that all of us want to make a difference and feel that our lives have purpose and meaning. Research in the field of positive psychology tells us that the pursuit of happiness will bring more lasting fulfillment if we look for that which brings meaning and purpose rather than fleeting pleasure. The former may not bring immediate happiness but will in the long run lead to a greater sense of what Aristotle called “eudaimonia” which is achieved by fulfilling our potential.
I attended the memorial service of a virtual stranger last week. I knew some members of her family, but had never met her. Through the service I learned some things about her. This woman had been in a wheelchair for most of the past 7 years. But she still managed to touch many lives through her compassionate listening and offering of wise counsel. She had made friends throughout the world by editing the books of aspiring authors-using her skills as a retired English teacher. Her family knew her as a wonderful mother, wife and grandmother. She was an artist, reader, teacher.
During this service I found myself wondering what people would be saying about me if it were my memorial. I remembered that was an exercise at a seminar I attended years ago. When trying to define your purpose-think about how you want to be remembered.
What do you want people to be saying about you?
Through researching and promoting purposeful wellness this year I have had a few insights that I would like to share with you:
• You have inherent purpose-you will most likely never know all of the ways you have touched others with the things you say and do.
• A few people will impact the world in a way that many will know about. Most of us will not-and that is ok. Your life matters and you will impact the people you are meant to if you live with purpose.
• Purpose is more about who you are than what you “do”. Make a decision to be a certain kind of person and the tasks associated with that will take care of themselves. As Mother Teresa said, “Spread love everywhere you go. Let no one ever come to you without leaving happier.”
• Giving to others is one of the fastest ways to find happiness.
• It is never too late to start looking for, defining or redefining and living out your purpose.
• People who have a sense of purpose live longer and have better health.
The Positive Psychology department at the University of Pennsylvania has a web site that contains multiple questionnaires that you can take to help you on this journey. The website is: http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx
Be Well On Purpose
You can read more of Carol’s articles at: http://www.brookdaleliving.com/blog.aspx