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We give a lot of our time and energy to our careers. This is often a satisfying part of our lives that provides us with a sense of purpose. However, we can get caught up in our professions a little too much, forgetting how to have a life outside of work.
For whatever reason, we may reach a point where we need to figure out how to find fulfillment. This point could be a midlife crisis, a major life event or any significant personal change.
What we do in life greatly affects our happiness. So here are five proven ways to help you find purpose in life outside of your career.
5 Ways to Rediscover Purpose Outside of a Career
People find meaning in life in a variety of ways, and there’s really no one-size-fits-all approach. When trying to rediscover purpose for yourself, it may be helpful to ask yourself, “What is my life missing? What would make me feel more fulfilled? In what ways am I not living life to the fullest?”
The answers to these fundamental questions will likely be different for everybody. However, there are a few core principles that can help you rediscover meaning outside of work. Here are five great ways to rediscover purpose outside of your career.
As social beings, the need to connect with others is hardwired into our brains. Having good social relationships is even indicative of longevity. Other studies have shown that isolation contributes to unwanted psychological conditions.
Finding your place in life can be as simple as establishing better mental health and improving your overall sense of wellness. To do this, stay connected with important people in your life.
Family is our biological root. Nourishing these relationships can be extremely rewarding. Staying connected or rebuilding old connections with our roots contributes to our core identity. It gives us a sense of who we really are. For many, this side of living is the epitome of life outside of work.
Our friends teach us a lot in life and provide support for us when we’re in need. If you’re wondering how to have a life outside of work, sometimes the easiest route forward is to meet up with your friends.
Join in some interesting and exciting activities. Parties, day trips and movie nights can be a staple for life outside of work.
Romantic relationships can be crucial in learning how to find fulfillment and well-being. It’s been shown that having a good romantic partnership is beneficial.
Contributing to each other’s potential, collaborating on shared goals and providing a secure attachment can create a powerful synergy.
Finding purpose outside of work starts with situational and self-awareness. Meditation has been proven to help with this through improved cognition, perception and emotional regulation. Meditation practice positively affects the quality of life.
Mindfulness is an objective, nonreactive awareness of the present moment, and it affects how we perceive things. How we frame our ideas is important.
You can begin the simple practice of mindfulness with a mindful wake-up, mindful eating and mindful breathing. These practices have been shown to induce positive changes to gray matter in the brain.
Transcendental meditation is a form of meditation where practitioners remain seated, breathe slowly and repeat a mantra. The goal is to transcend or rise above your current state of being by focusing on a mantra or mental object.
Some of the world’s most successful figures have reported benefiting from this technique.
Humans are physical creatures. For many, life outside of work is spent improving and maintaining physical fitness. While it’s not always easy to get started, a fitness journey can answer the question of how to find fulfillment.
Exercise has many worthwhile benefits that contribute to well-being:
- Increased endorphins/better moods: Endorphins are “feel good” neurotransmitters that are released into your bloodstream when you exercise. This results in improved mood.
- Boosted energy: Energy is like currency, and having more of it means you can enjoy yourself for longer periods of time.
- Better sleep: Sleep has a significant effect on your overall sense of well-being. Whether you sleep well or not can fully determine how you experience the following day.
Types of Exercise
There are also many types of exercise to choose from. No matter what kind of person you are, you’ll surely be able to find an exercise style you resonate with.
- Gym: Getting started in the gym can be tricky, but once you start, you’ll quickly feel the benefits. A more shapely physique, hormone health and an overall sense of wellness are among the common benefits. Resistance training increases muscle mass, burns unwanted body fat and induces healthier and desirable hormonal states.
- Cardio: Running, swimming, cycling and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are great ways to improve cardio health. Cardio training is proven to increase longevity and energy levels. These are important aspects of personal well-being and are fundamental to enjoying life outside of work.
Think about the goal of exercise, to give your heart a good pump. Cardiovascular exercise helps with reducing stress, increases serotonin in the brain (the happy chemical) and people report being less depressed. Cardiovascular exercise also helps our entire body and is correlated with better sleep. A win-win-win all around!
Creativity and artistic expression can be great options if you’re wondering how to find fulfillment outside of work. Music, art and writing are great ways to express yourself from a deeper place.
You don’t need to worry about being the next Oscar Wilde or Vincent Van Gogh; rather, just allow yourself to be playfully expressive without judgment.
Engaging in creative activities has been shown to boost mood, enhance cognitive function and alleviate anxiety — not to mention it’s a great avenue for meeting new, like-minded people.
Being exploratory or open-minded is a great way of trying to rediscover purpose outside of work. You may wish to travel, explore new cultures or take up new hobbies.
You may be surprised where you can find yourself when you start saying yes to things and seeing where it leads you.
In general, open-minded people feel more optimistic and are more likely to learn new things and have new, interesting experiences.
Take the Next Steps
Fortunately, there are many great ways to find purpose outside of work. While our careers offer us some stability and financial benefit, they don’t always help us feel fulfilled.
To improve your lifestyle and deepen life outside of work, consider harnessing your creativity, exploring new avenues and deepening your personal relationships.
If you’re looking to rediscover purpose in life and feel you need some psychological assistance, FHE Health can help. We work with individuals dealing with everything from substance use disorders to personality disorders. Find out more about us.