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Finding Purpose

May 10, 2023
Ellen Johnson

Finding Purpose: A Key to Reducing Anxiety and Depression

Many people struggle with feelings of depression and anxiety, and one significant contributing factor can be a lack of purpose in life. Research has shown that having a clear sense of purpose can lead to better mental health and overall well-being.

The Impact of Purpose on Mental Health

A recent meta-analysis of 89 studies involving over 66,000 participants found that a strong sense of purpose is associated with lower levels of depression and anxiety. Specifically, the study found that individuals with a greater sense of purpose experienced significantly fewer symptoms of depression (correlation coefficient of -0.49) and moderately fewer symptoms of anxiety (correlation coefficient of -0.36)​ (PsyPost - Psychology News)​​ (Psychiatry.org)​. This suggests that cultivating a sense of direction and meaning in life can play a crucial role in mental health.

Why Lack of Purpose Leads to Depression and Anxiety

Without a sense of purpose, individuals may feel lost, leading to increased stress and emotional turmoil. According to a report by the Harvard Graduate School of Education, young adults (ages 18-25) who lack meaning and purpose report higher rates of anxiety and depression compared to those who feel their lives are meaningful. The report highlights that over half of young adults feel a lack of purpose, which can exacerbate mental health issues​ (Inside Higher Ed)​.

How Therapy Can Help

Therapy can be a valuable tool in helping individuals find and cultivate their sense of purpose. At Decades Counseling, our therapists are experienced in guiding clients through this process. Here’s how therapy can assist:

  1. Exploring Values and Interests: Therapists can help you identify what truly matters to you, setting the foundation for a meaningful life.
  2. Setting Goals: Developing and working towards personal goals can create a sense of direction and accomplishment.
  3. Building Resilience: Therapy provides strategies to cope with life’s challenges, making it easier to pursue your purpose despite obstacles.
  4. Providing Support: Having a supportive environment to discuss your feelings and experiences can alleviate the sense of isolation that often accompanies a lack of purpose.

Taking the First Step

If you’re feeling lost or struggling with depression and anxiety, seeking professional help can be the first step towards finding your purpose and improving your mental health. At Decades Counseling, we offer personalized therapy sessions to help you discover and pursue what gives your life meaning.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, book a free consultation call with us, here


  • Boreham, I.D., & Schutte, N.S. (2023). The relationship between purpose in life and depression and anxiety: A meta-analysis. Journal of Clinical Psychology.
  • Harvard Graduate School of Education. (2023). On Edge: Understanding and Preventing Young Adults’ Mental Health Challenges.

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