In today’s fast-paced world — with all the pressures and stresses of modern life — it can be a challenge to sit back and reflect on what is most valuable to us. Often the urgent responsibilities of our daily lives can push out the important. Many times when I receive calls from clients they are experiencing significant distress in their lives — whether it be anxiety, depression, or life transition — and they didn’t get there overnight. Usually clients have been disconnected from their true purpose for some time. In somatic (mind/body) psychology, we believe that presenting symptoms are a sign that something deeper is going on. So how can we become more in tune with our true purpose? Below are some ways of cultivating that self-discovery process:
1 | Strip away negativity
It’s time to start looking at the people with whom you spend the most time — your partner, family members, co-workers and friends — and taking an honest inventory of those relationships. Ask yourself, do these people bring joy and peace into my life? Do they breed positivity? Do they challenge me to be the best I can be and support me when I’m in need? If you’re unable to answer “yes” to these questions it is time to evaluate how much time you should be spending with these individuals.
2 | Pay attention to your moods
In order to connect with your true purpose in life, you need to become mindfully aware of what makes you feel good and what makes you feel poorly. Take a moment, whenever you can think about it, to quietly reflect on the thoughts, feelings and sensations that accompany various activities and tasks throughout the day. The more in tune you become with yourself, the more obvious your life’s purpose will become to you.
3 | Spend time outdoors
If you live in Los Angeles — where I practice psychotherapy — or another urban environment, then you know how tough it can be to live among the hustle and bustle of city life. How can one connect to their true purpose when sitting in traffic, standing in line or trying to get all their work done for the day? So often, we can feel like the world will fall apart if we don’t get that one piece of paperwork in or that one email answered. I find that spending time in nature helps me gain the perspective I am looking for.
4 | Get moving
One way of connecting to our purpose in life is to connect mind, body and spirit. A great way of doing this is to incorporate mindful movement into your daily routine. Mindful movement helps you to slow down your thoughts and become more present to your physical experience in the moment. This can be as simple as walking mindfully to your car in the morning, taking a yoga class or going on a hike. If mobility is an issue for you, even spending some time doing easy stretches or basic Tai Chi moves would do the trick.
5 | Make time for play
When we are caught up in trying to achieve status or monetary success, life can become such a chore! In order to connect with our true purpose, we need to make some space for play — which is any activity that is done simply for its own enjoyment, and not directed toward the fulfillment of a goal. In other words, have some fun! Go bowling, create something, do free-writing, run around at the park, make paper airplanes…whatever floats your boat. Connecting to our more child-like selves can be a huge step towards discovering our true purpose.
I hope this list has been helpful to you in gaining some inspiration towards exploring your life’s purpose. Remember that gaining self-awareness is a process and takes time. Be patient with yourself. Seek support and guidance wherever you can find it. And have fun!
about the author
Hi! I'm Natalie. And my passion is helping people live more peaceful, meaningful lives. Through holistic therapy in Pasadena and here on the blog, my mission is to provide people with the support and tools they need to live their best life.