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Finding meaning and purpose


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Everyone has a purpose in life.


People who have a strong sense of purpose experience real benefits, including:


  • a greater sense of happiness and well-being
  • less obesity
  • less depression and anxiety
  • more satisfaction with work


It's never too late to think about what your purpose is.


For some people, purpose is connected to vocation - meaningful, satisfying work. For others, their purpose lies in their responsibilities to their family or friends. Others seek meaning through spirituality or religious beliefs. Some people may find their purpose clearly expressed in all these aspects of life.


Purpose is different and unique for everyone - what you identify as your path may be quite different from others. Your purpose is also likely to change and shift throughout your life in response to different priorities and experiences.


We've created a resource to help you explore this.


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If having meaning in life brings great benefit to your health and well-being, what can you do to increase your sense of purpose?


It might be surprising, but one of the main ways you can care for yourself is to care for others.


Over the last 20 years, researchers have found that one activity is far more important than the rest for boosting well-being. That activity is volunteering.


The researchers found that volunteers had a:


  • lower risk of depression
  • higher amount of satisfaction
  • reduced risk of death from physical illness

There are hundreds of volunteering opportunities within a few miles of where you live, and that you can do from home. Do IT helps you find the ideal volunteering opportunity. It may even be a step towards a dream job.


Get inspired by this 1-minute video. Five people who volunteer talk about what they get from volunteering - in sport, in the community, with elderly people, at the Paralympics, in a band, with animals.



“We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give.”

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Each day, millions of people make a difference through voluntary organisations and volunteering. NCVO helps people get in touch with opportunities. Why not join others in finding an opportunity?

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Many people find TED talks inspire them in making life changes. This selection of talks focuses on finding purpose and meaning.

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