Finding a purpose can seem possible, but detecting your purpose is what is more lasting(1). What shapes our understanding of the reasons behind what we’re trying to accomplish and the outcomes can vary tremendously. For instance, by running, I am convinced that there are secondary benefits to those around me, yet in some ways, I feel powerless over influencing those around me.
As a first-year student, you might be struggling to figure out what to take classes in, to stand the best chance of living a life you want after graduation. One way to go about detecting your purpose is a series of classes to figure out what you want, but this can be expensive. Another option is to not worry about it too much and do what feels right. A third way that I will discuss, is taking input from others in a process with long-term wellness in mind.
Perspectives on wellness
There are a lot of things that work for wellness in a variety of situations. While we don’t have a time machine, if we did I’d imagine it would allow us to relive a single event in similar ways. In this vessel, we could see that the choices we make and what outcomes they produce. We would realize the benefits were different, but that none lead to the utopian ideal we envision in the first place. Wellness is not a utopia, but rather a place of rest.
Wellness is rest and rest is rejuvination .
Wellness is about rejuvenating yourself and there are an infinite number of ways to rejuvenate. Obviously, sleeping is rest, however, too much sleep can be unhealthy. Building a repertoire of wellness activities enhances your capacity to rejuvenate the purpose.
Finding your natural equilibrium means familiarizing yourself with an inner vulnerability that is in its most genuine state. From this state, you can remember the purpose, objectives, and values behind your actions.
A coworker commented that if you’re not awkward you’re not fun. Understanding emotion is the essence of being genuine. When we feel awkward, there is a belief that can provoke strong feelings. Being capable of managing emotions is essential to social interactions. Outdoor activities provide ample opportunities to experience circumstances where we can practice this skill.
Social anxiety is a challenge for everyone, however, we cope with it in different ways. Some talk more, some shut down, but the outcome is the same, we are learning what makes us feel comfortable in different situations.
The trick is not to avoid the feeling of being awkward
Feelings, however strong, are separate from purpose and reason. Results in the classroom are more manageable by practicing having a purpose in spite of strong feelings like anxiety. For instance, going on a hike and managing the social interactions along the way means that when you’re back in the classroom, you’ll have less distraction.
Outdoor activities can nourish the cool, calm collected sense of self that is relatively unphased by minor disturbances. The experience of walking and talking to friends with the birds chirping and the ever-changing scenery is a therapeutic way of relieving daily stress. Simply by walking, our imaginative creative power is increased.
Perceptions of the landscape and perspectives reinforce the constellation of neurons in the mind that promote stronger pattern recognition and emotional regulation. Hikes are relatively inexpensive and the side by side movement facilitates conversation with new perspectives.
Climbing the rock wall can be nerve-wracking, but the perspective from the top can be spectacular. Who knows the view other than those who climb the wall? Having courage is a continuous wellness activity. There will always be that next line to push past, but the perspectives gained along the way are worth it.
- The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen R. Covey