Find your life's purpose

Naturopath Kylie Clooney shows us how creating a purposeful life filled with passion can greatly improve your health.

Have you ever noticed how young people tend to have a focus on hobbies, sports, play and dreams, and as we age, for the majority, those things are gradually replaced with being busy and living life based on the necessities of just living?

Have you ever stopped your daily grind to ask, ‘What is the purpose of all that I am doing?’ Recent studies indicate that stopping to regroup and asking this question may have ongoing benefits to both our physical and mental health.

The ‘Blue Zones’ of the world are recognised communities in which the people living there are measurably the happiest and healthiest in the world. Extensive studies into the life patterns of these populations reveal a factor common among the different cultures of people...they live with passion and know their purpose in life.

People of these Blue Zone populations are not wealthy and as such there is no access to copious amounts of food, medical practitioners and anti-aging services. Yet the physical age and quality of life is higher than an average Westerner and their emotional and mental health in comparison to our Western world is healthy. Why?

Essentially, a purpose is the reason for which something exists, the reasons you do what you do. Purpose is the driving force behind action and motivation in life and it can help determine personal goals and provide a sense of meaning to life. Living with a purpose may result in improved immunity, reduced incidence of illness and faster recovery rates, reduced stress levels, and help to down regulate excess stimulation of stress hormones. Stress hormones can trigger various chemical reactions in the body to which the immune system becomes responsive and eventually depletes leading to illness, auto-immunity and inflammation in the body.

Psychologists have determined that people with a defined purpose experience greater life satisfaction, increased physical energy and release of neurotransmitters (brain hormones) that regulate health and happy moods. 

A sense of purpose can also provide motivation and a sense of belonging or oneness as well as improved physical and mental health. Years ago we lived in tribes and clans – modern times find most of us operating as individual units. The American Psychological Association states that a lack of personal purpose and connectivity in community may be a partial explanation to the elevations of depression and feelings of emptiness developing in many western people. In fact, purposeful living can heighten the levels of cognitive functioning in the brain.

‘Plan de vida’, loosely translated as ‘why I wake up in the morning’, is a term used by people in Costa Rica to guide them through life and provide a sense of purposefulness. So, how do you find your ‘plan de vida’ and create a life that matters?


A purpose is not a ‘thing’ you do, like a job or a project; rather it is a feeling or an inner driving force that fuels your furnace. This force is the thing that would have you create those projects or choose a particular career. A person who has a purpose to ‘protect fellow man’ for example, may choose to join the fire brigade or armed forces, whereas someone with a purpose to ‘support people to be their best’ may take on a supportive role as a motivational speaker, counsellor, sports coach or personal trainer.  Another person might feel a sense of need to bring people together and create community; these people might be ‘connectors of people’ and love to organise social events and network with friends and work colleagues.
Your purpose may not be external or about ‘doing’ something, it may be about internal challenges that you need to experience, that provide an opportunity to move through and grow or to have them enhance your life experiences. 

For some people, a purpose may be learning to love, or learning to be loved, letting go of hurt and resentment, or being a caring friend or mother. Others may have a particular pull toward environmental issues, and discovery of new medical knowledge. Some people are supporters of others and help with simple care, providing meals and love so the other person can fly and fulfil their dreams. Purpose is not something to compare to others and no one purpose is better than any other; nature can help us to comprehend this concept.

If you sit and watch a trail of ants or bees you will see the synchronised and focused determination of each of these small creatures – all working toward a central goal for their community, all going about their individual business; and at peace.

The work of Japanese scientist Dr Emoto shows that when we feel happy, excited and motivated, cellular structures in the body change in a positive way. Embrace your purpose and passions and make every day feel the way Christmas morning does to a child. Before you know it you will be eager to jump out of bed and see what the day will bring, with the bonus of optimising your health.

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The information presented on this website is not intended as specific medical advice and is not a substitute for professional medical treatment or diagnosis. Read our Medical Notice.