By: Dr. Krystal L. Culler & Anna K. Hall
Anna K. Hall is the Chief Purpose Officer and Founder of The Purpose Equation, an evidence-informed framework that has revolutionized how we approach personal and professional growth in the realm of purpose.
Purpose is the North Star guiding our lives, providing direction, meaning, and a profound sense of fulfillment. It acts as a powerful motivator, fueling our actions with intention and determination. Beyond the intrinsic rewards, purpose plays a pivotal role in our overall well-being, notably in brain health.
The Connection Between Purpose and Brain Health
The concept of having a sense of purpose in life has been the subject of philosophical inquiry for centuries. More recently, however, the scientific community has begun to explore the connection between purpose and brain health. Scientific studies have shown that individuals with a clear sense of purpose tend to exhibit lower levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, while also displaying enhanced cognitive function and a reduced risk of cognitive decline in later years. This is because a defined purpose activates regions of the brain associated with goal-setting, problem-solving, and emotional regulation.
One of the main ways that purpose affects brain health is by reducing the risk of depression and anxiety. Studies have shown that people who have a strong sense of purpose in life are less likely to experience depression, anxiety, and other mental health conditions. Additionally, having a sense of purpose has been found to boost overall happiness and life satisfaction.
Why Having a Sense of Purpose is Good for Your Brain?
Another way that purpose affects brain health is by improving brain health and cognitive function. Research has shown that people who have a sense of purpose tend to have better memory, faster reaction times, and more effective problem-solving skills. This is likely because a sense of purpose provides a focus and motivation that encourages individuals to engage in activities that are beneficial for their brain health.
Moreover, having a sense of purpose can also reduce the risk of age-related cognitive decline. Studies have found that older adults who have a strong sense of purpose in life are less likely to experience cognitive decline and memory loss as they age. This is likely because a sense of purpose provides individuals with a reason to stay engaged and active, which can help to maintain cognitive function in later years.
5 Exercises to Activate Purpose
How can you cultivate a sense of purpose in your own life? There is no one-size-fits-all answer, as everyone’s sense of purpose is unique to their individual experiences and values.
Here are some general tips to spark purpose in life:
1. Identify your values.
What are the things that are most important to you?
What do you believe in?
Consider bringing your strengths to life and live more fully by completing the free, scientific survey on character strengths here.
2 .Explore your passions to ignite your superpowers.
What are the activities or hobbies that you find most enjoyable and fulfilling? Take time to identify your passions. Write them down and intentionally plan time to explore your passions.
3. Serve others. Give and get meaning.
Find ways to help others, whether it be through volunteering, donating, or simply helping those in your community.
4. Set meaningful goals.
Work towards a goal that aligns with your values and passions, and that you believe will make a positive impact on the world.
5. Spark joy.
Acknowledge that joy is when you lose track of time, and lose track of yourself. For example, you’re doing something that’s absolutely delightful. And then after that activity, you feel refreshed, renewed, invigorated, and energized. Take time to know what brings you joy.
In essence, purpose is the cornerstone upon which a fulfilling, enriching life is built, and its impact on our mental and emotional well-being is nothing short of transformative.
May you continue to live in purpose by giving and getting meaning and joy every day in your life. Remember that purpose is your reason to rise and that it comes from within. Take time to explore your purpose and fuel your actions for optimal brain health and wellness.
In brain health and wellness,
Krystal & Anna