Change of Life… Changing Priorities… Living More Purposefully

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Perimenopause and menopause signify a new chapter in a woman’s life. At this stage, many women simply decide to rewrite the entire book. Case in point: More than 60 percent of divorces are initiated by women in their 40s, 50s or 60s — the menopause years — according to a survey conducted by AARP Magazine.

With the change of life come obvious physical changes — hot flashes, mood swings, weight gain… the list goes on. Many menopausal women seek balance in their lives, often focusing on the spiritual as well as the physical. Their priorities often shift as they take this opportunity for self-reflection and a renewed focus. We may find a renewed sense of purpose.

We’re older and wiser. We have a lot to contribute to the community we live in!

Living with Purpose

In an article by the Center for Spirituality and Healing at the University of Minnesota, expert Richard Leider suggests two core practices for living with purpose: contemplation and activation. Contemplation refers to seeking answers to questions about who you are, how you should live, and where you belong. Activation, as the word implies, is living your truth.

Following are some methods you can use to achieve these goals:

  • Reflection. Review the day’s events each evening for 5-10 minutes. Which experiences were life-giving? Which were life-draining?
  • Meditation. A study by researchers at the UC Davis Center for Mind and Brain found that meditation increases one’s sense of life purpose.
  • Journaling. Keeping a journal can be a helpful way to reflect and express yourself honestly. Allow yourself to write freely.
  • Writing your life story. Reflect upon where you have been, the events that have shaped who you are today, and the future you imagine for yourself. What obstacles do you see ahead? How will you overcome them?

Having a Purpose

What’s your purpose? If you don’t know, following the steps below can help you uncover it, according to a Psychologytoday.com article by Dr. Brad Klontz.

  1. Examine what you value most. Is it family, faith, excellence, generosity, peace, connection to others, balance or something else?
  2. How do you want others to describe you/what you would want to be written in your obituary? What legacy do you want to leave?
  3. Jot down your own special purpose on a business card. You can tweak it later.
  4. Start each day and end each day by reciting your purpose. Carry that business card in your wallet or purse. Read it every so often to remain focused.

Trends with Benefits

Living a purposeful life not only helps those around you, it can benefit you — and your health — as well. Research from the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago revealed that individuals with high purpose scores were 2.4 times more likely to remain free of Alzheimer’s than those with low scores; they were also less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, often a precursor. In a study of 246 people who died at the center, autopsies found that many of those with high purpose scores also showed the distinctive markers of Alzheimer’s.

Purposeful people were less likely to develop disabilities. They also had a lower mortality rate than those with low purpose.

Another study, by Dr. Patrick Hill, Department of Psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, found that purpose in life promotes longevity. Both the Rush and the Carleton teams controlled for a host of other factors known to correlate with well-being —social relationships, chronic medical conditions and disability, work status — and reported that purpose in life, in and of itself, appears to improve and extend lives.

I’ve made my own personal commitment to living life more fully, with greater meaning. Now the ball’s in your court. How can you give your life more meaning, make your life more purposeful.

Suffering in silence is OUT! Reaching out is IN!

 

After struggling with her own severe menopause symptoms and doing years of research, Ellen resolved to share what she learned from experts and her own trial and error. Her goal was to replace the confusion, embarrassment, and symptoms millions of women go through–before, during, and after menopause–with the medically sound solutions she discovered. Her passion to become a “sister” and confidant to all women fueled Ellen’s first book, Shmirshky: the pursuit of hormone happiness. As a result of the overwhelming response from her burgeoning audiences and followers’ requests for empowering information they could trust, Ellen’s weekly blog, Menopause MondaysTM, was born.

  • Great post, Ellen! I love the idea of writing down and reciting my purpose. It’s so easy to lose sight of that in the daily grind of things. Staying focused on my goals will be the key to my success!

    • Ellen Dolgen

      I am so thrilled that you found this helpful. We have so much on our minds each day….jotting down thos thoughts can def help to keep us focused on our own goals.

  • My mom is 80, and she refers this period in her life as “my reflecting chapter.” She’s moderately active, exceedingly generous and always grateful.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      I love that, Kim! Your Mom must be quite something, indeed!

  • Yes, living a purpose-filled life is my goal, and I try to live it every day. I hope to leave this world knowing that I’ve helped others in any way I can. It’s not only satisfying, but I think it’s a responsibility to “do unto others.” I love it.

    Great post, Ellen. I love each point you made.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      I love that……it IS our responsibility to “do unto other”. Well put, my dear.

  • You’ve given me plenty to think about. Thanks.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      I am so glad that you found the blog thought provoking! Thanks for stopping by!

  • Laurie

    I would live to win your duvet!!!

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Good Luck!!

  • The fine balance between contemplation and activation: it’s an unending challenging. Thanks for pointing out how worthwhile and important that struggle is–especially once our children are grown and living independent lives that no longer require our active supervision. Figuring out where our lives are now [contemplation] and taking steps to live a meaningful life beyond day-to-day parenting [activation]: that’s the ticket.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      So well said! That balance between contemplation and activation is the most challenging!

  • I totally believe in living with purpose, and I think the reason so many men in particular have trouble with retirement is because they no longer know what their “purpose” is. This is a really great, thought-provoking piece.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      I agree, Lois. Thanks for your thoughts!

  • Two ends of a continuum….I like that…both necessary

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Yep! Def need both!

  • Helene Cohen Bludman

    I like the idea of reserving a few minutes each day for reflection.

  • With both my husband and I at home these days, I think my purpose in life has been to learn how NOT to annoy him! But seriously, it’s all good.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Haha…….my husband and I share an office….we work and play together! It definitely is a dance one gets good at!!

  • Years and years ago I wrote a “personal mission statement.” I would repeat it each morning, and I did feel as though it mattered and that it helped me feel more purposeful throughout the day. You’ve inspired me to revisit that statement… and start repeating it daily once again. Thank you!

    • Ellen Dolgen

      I love that Lisa! Wonderful idea!

  • Purpose in everything is so critical. I love the idea of taking time every day for reflection. You do start a great conversation Ellen.

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Thanks Ruth – there are so many wonderful things to enrich out lives with….we just have to go for it!

  • Alwaysh changin, thants for sure. wendy

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Change is good!

  • linda

    Hi Ellen:)
    This really hit home for me.
    Always said being healthy is such a blessing! Sickness doesn’t know age, and when it happened to me 14 years ago I handled it pretty well– that is until menapause:\…
    I’ve learned, having a purpose in life can change as we change…
    This can be a good thing:D!

    • Ellen Dolgen

      Thanks for sharing, Linda. I totally agree with you…….being healthy is a blessing. Having a purpose in life makes everything more enjoyable and the difficult times a bit easier.

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