By pursuing purpose, people enjoy more pleasant experiences

Dr. Michael Layne, a columnist for the Greensburg Daily News, says the only way people can find happiness is by pursuing a specific purpose for their lives.

“One reason you should start your quest for happiness by finding purpose is that purpose brings happiness,” he wrote. “Studies have shown for years that people living with purpose report fewer unpleasant emotions like anxiety and depression and even less physical pain.”

I fully agree with that statement. When I have a sense of purpose, I don’t have nearly as much time for negative news and doomscrolling on social media.

I gave up news for a while in 2021 and remember how my entire attitude improved within days as I detoxified my mind from the drama and depression that came from paying attention to those things I had no control over or even an opportunity to influence the outcome.

Dr. Layne also noted people enjoy experiences more than they do things. Purpose often creates a plethora of experiences as people take steps to fulfill that purpose.

My family discovered that in 2007 when my wife and I explained to our three teenage daughters that we would forgo trinkets for Christmas gifts in favor of a big family trip or other memorable event. It was so well received — and memorable — that we never went back to Christmas gifts.

The three key benefits to a sense of purpose, according to Dr. Layne, are:

  • Purpose brings happiness because people feel more important when they have something meaningful to do.
  • Purpose encourages activity because it causes the body to release feel-good endorphins, which entice people chemically to want to do more.
  • Purpose encourages social interaction by nudging us to spend time with other people.

While Dr. Layne advises people who aren’t sure what their purpose is to try out volunteering or considering finding a new job, I think the solution sometimes goes beyond that.

Jobs are wonderful for people under 50 because they get paid to gain experience. For those of us over 50, now is the time for us to put our skills, talent and life experiences to work in our own endeavors. Otherwise, people risk trading one unfulfilling job for another.

If you’d like help identifying your purpose and developing a plan to accomplish it, I welcome the opportunity to chat with members of the Forward From 50 Facebook community. For a limited time, I am offering a complementary 30-minute chat to brainstorm some options. To take advantage of that, either connect with me on Facebook or by visiting

To read Dr. Layne’s full article, visit