What’s Your Why-Being? Wellness Article

Feeling excited about life and all that it has to offer? Or have you been feeling a little deflated and unsure of your direction? I’ve talked before about the Blue Zones, which are cultures around the world that share many common characteristics. The populations within Blue Zones are noted for their longer, healthier lives. One more shared trait in Blue Zones is purpose. Okinawans call it ikigai and Nicoyans call it plan de vida, but the concept is the same – basically, what is it that gets you up in the morning?1

For me, I call it your “why-being.” What is your “why” for getting you up, keeping you motivated and inspired despite the challenges in your environment. It may be your family or your faith, for some it is helping others through volunteering or through their career. Whatever it is, sometimes we sense and know our why-being more strongly at different times in our lives. Our lives shift and often our circumstances may shift and cause us to lose sight of our purpose. Or it could be a time to remember what is at the core of our purpose and how to continue that purpose through the changes of life. Some people find they reinvent their purpose or some find that they have a common thread through-out their life that shows what their purpose is. Austrian psychiatrist Viktor Frankl famously refined this concept during his excruciating experience in Nazi prison camps during World War II. He later presented to the world his practice of “logotherapy” — the belief that a person who has a “why” can endure any “how.” 2

I myself have had to remind myself of my why-being— and more so recently than ever before. Helping others and wanting them to succeed and be happy is at the core of my why-being and that stems from my faith. Looking back, I can see how the different paths, jobs, volunteer opportunities and experiences have been rooted in this. I can also look back and see when I am fulfilling this core purpose that I am truly the most content.

Many studies have shown to suggest that life purpose is associated with reduced risk of early death.3 One NIH study looked at the connection between having a sense of purpose and longevity and showed that those who had clear goals or purpose lived longer and lived better than those who did not.1 Often times we spend so much time trying to find happiness or create it but maybe the answer lies in focusing on our purpose, our why-being.

Feeling like you aren’t sure what your why-being is? It may just be that you need time to pause and evaluate what brings you joy, what is your passion, what do you spend your energy on or what gives you energy. The following site gives a good worksheet to help you get started and even has a guide for how to write your purpose statement (https://www.bluezones.com/the-purpose-checkup-2/). Once you have your statement you can write it down and put it somewhere to remind you – especially to help you during the twists and turns of life- of how to live out a purpose driven life. We all have a why-being and when we live that out we help others around us, we build stronger communities and create a healthier world.

  1. https://www.bluezones.com/2011/08/the-right-outlook-how-finding-your-purpose-can-improve-your-life/
  2. https://www.pursuit-of-happiness.org/history-of-happiness/viktor-frankl/
  1. https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/will-a-purpose-driven-life-help-you-live-longer-2019112818378
Tera Moorehead is the Director of Community Outreach at Ridgecrest Regional Hospital. With dual master’s degrees in nutrition and education, as well as a health and wellness coach, Tera shares her passion for health and wellness through various programs offered free to the community through RRH. You can contact her at 760-499-3825.