What will make me happy? 
An age old question, often answered by statements such as , winning the lottery, or buying a new car or getting a bigger house. 
But do these material objects really make us happy? 
We can hazard a guess at no: look at the lottery winners whose lives have not panned out the way they hoped, or that new car that after a couple of years isn’t new anymore so another new one is required. 
It may come as no surprise to know then, that happiness is determined by internal factors and perceptions. Although money can definitely make life easier, once it reaches a certain level, the happiness factor it brings decreases. 
Well is it enough to be rich, beautiful and intelligent then? 
Erm no! Self esteem, social skills, free time, a sense of humour and volunteering have been found to be greater drivers of happiness. 
Can we be happy all of the time? 
No, of course not but with some minor changes, we can probably be happier than we think. 
How? You may be wondering? 
Many of us will have come across or perhaps be; the empty nesters, the retirees or uni grads who suddenly seem to loose their mojo and may sink into a depression. What do they have in common? 
Their sense of purpose has upped and gone! 
Research shows that having a SENSE OF PURPOSE has vast real life benefits; for example; people with a sense of purpose are more likely to exercise, eat healthily and sleep better! 
A sense of purpose helps you to feel as if you’re doing something worthwhile, what’s more research says that you might even live longer! 
Sense of purpose helps us through the down times, helps us to put things in perspective, boosts self esteem and resilience, as well as giving us hope for the future. 
Ok so how do I find my sense of purpose, you may well ask? 
Now, this can be a challenge at times and sometimes we may get it wrong before we get it right but that’s ok, just be patient and kind with yourself, it’s a process! 
Where do I start? 
Firstly, think about what makes you happy, there’s usually something, however small, 
It may just be something as small as the first coffee of the day. 
Next: think about what matters to you and then, what are you prepared to put effort into? 
You’re now off to a flying start. 
Want to make that sense of purpose stronger? 
1. Do something for somebody else! 
This may be taking part in or organising a charity event, there’s loads of charitable organisations around, eg, walk so many steps a month, fun runs, cake bake events, the list goes on. 
Volunteering: for a nonprofit organisation, maybe a soup kitchen twice a month, an animal charity, a befriending or mentoring organisation for young people? 
2. Listen to what people say about you! 
When we loose our sense of meaning it can be easy to ignore the positives. 
Try to notice when someone pays you a compliment, maybe write it down! You might find your passion through what other people say about you. 
3. Be with people who share your passion, like what you like. Avoid the negative Nellies and the mood vacuums. 
4. Perhaps you could make a difference? This can be whatever floats your boat, maybe animal welfare, maybe politics? 
Take your pick …but whether it’s walking a dog once a week or supporting homeless people, doing something kind or with purpose, will give your life that feeling of meaning. 
Finding a sense of purpose takes time. You might want to change direction, the path your on, may grow weeds at times but remember the weeds will never grow as big as the strong tree. 
So there we have it! Happiness is a sense of purpose in life. 
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