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Retaining a sense of purpose as you age

Finding a sense of purpose in life can lead to better health, motivation, happiness and even help you live longer. Having something to look forward to every day is one reason why we get up in the morning and with time ticking on, it’s important to make every day count.

A Time to Grow

240_f_77449710_jdmj54mc4e7qjgo3vadz3govylqiltvvAging can be a time to explore new things, new hobbies and a time to learn more about ourselves. It takes courage, however, to let go of our past roles and redefine ourselves. What provides meaning in our lives changes as we age. After years of having had a successful career, raising a family and looking after others, things can change when we retire. Losing these roles means maintaining a high level of purpose in life may become more difficult. Divorce or widowhood, health issues, losing friends and family or having to take responsibility for adult children and grandchildren can also play a part.

How Can I Help Myself?

Social contribution and inclusion are central to retaining a sense of purpose as we age. Being social with others is critical as social engagements help us look ahead, makes us feel like we have control over our lives and fuel our self-worth. Without social interaction, it is easy to get stuck at home and have negative thought patterns.

Volunteering is a great way to maintain a sense of purpose. Giving time to the local op-shop, food bank or pet shelter not only gives us a sense of purpose but helps maintain contact with others as well. Everyone needs to feel like they are contributing to something larger than themselves.

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Join a Group or Club

Do you love walking, nature, bird watching or music? Share your passion with others through joining a group relevant to your interests. Having things in common with others can help us find greater satisfaction in life and you may even make some new friends! If you don’t have any hobbies, reinvent yourself. Explore new interests or things that you have never had time for.

Try to find something to look forward to every day. Feeling useful can be a lifeline for people who feel isolated or depressed. Take a few minutes at the end of each day to think about your sense of purpose and be grateful for the opportunities in your life.  Our reason for living can be heightened through social interactions. Get out there and join some groups and be social. Be positive as every day gives us new opportunities to experience the wonders of life.