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Pursuing Your Passion Can Improve Your Health

Kimberley Fowler
By Kimberley FowlerDecember 27, 2017

Many aging baby boomers in North America are in pursuit of the fountain of youth. We are constantly searching for the next big thing to help us stay healthy, vibrant and young and we jump from fad to fad to remain in good health and ward off the merciless hands of time.

In fact, there is an 84 billion dollar industry (exceeding that spent on education) dedicated to personal health and beauty in North America, which encompasses cosmetic surgery, diet pills, fragrances, hair and skin care and health clubs. The Economist reports that beauty companies have gone a step further and are now developing products that blur the lines between cosmetics and non-prescription drugs — called “cosmeceuticals.”

An Easier Way to Improve Your Health

Studies repeatedly show that pursuing your passion can not only improve your psychological well-being, it can also improve your physical health.

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An abstract published by Springer Open defines ‘passion’ as “a strong inclination toward a self-defining activity that people like (or even love), find important, and in which they invest time and energy on a regular basis.”

A personal passion can be anything that you enjoy doing, including:

  • Baking and cooking
  • Being active – sports, yoga, etc.
  • Collecting – antiques, stamps, etc.
  • Crafting and creating
  • Music
  • Spending time outdoors – fishing, hiking etc.
  • Spending time with family
  • Volunteering
  • Writing

Improved Mental Wellness

Robert J. Valler and author of The Role of Passion in Sustainable Psychological Well-Being, defines ‘psychological well-being’ as “happiness, life satisfaction and self-growth” and theorizes that having a passion for an activity leads to “sustainable positive effects on psychological well-being” – or, a balanced, happy life.

Many people find that having a passion provides them with a drive for self-improvement and a purpose, and that they experience increased feelings of happiness and positivity while performing the activity they are passionate about – feelings that stay with them long after they are finished with the activity.

Feelings of happiness can also have an even greater impact on our overall health: an article published by Thrive Global reports that many scientific studies have found a connection between happiness and good health; as well in his abstract, Vallerand reported that “much research reveals that happy people experience a number of benefits ranging from physical health to better relationships to high-level performance.”

Improved Physical Health

Some of the many physical benefits of pursuing your passion:

  • Improved brain health, including memory and mental agility
  • Improved sleep quality
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower risk of heart disease
  • Lower risk of stress, anxiety and depression (and the physical symptoms that go along with them)

How to Discover Your Passion

There is no denying that pursuing your passion can improve your overall health, however, how do you go about discovering what it is that ignites a fire inside of you?

Psychology Today suggests following these five steps:

  1. Inventory your talents.
  2. Notice when you lose track of time, or what you hate to stop doing.
  3. Pay attention to what makes you jealous.
  4. See your passion hunt as a fun, joyful adventure.
  5. Think of what you loved to do as a child.

What is your passion and did it improve your health? We’d like to hear more about the pursuit of your passion in the comments below.

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Kimberley Fowler
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Kimberley Fowler
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