They say if you do what you love every day, you won’t work a day in your life. There is some truth to that saying – follow your heart, and you’ll live a life of purpose, passion and contentment. And, it turns out there are a lot of health benefits to living a life of passion.
Pursuing your passion not only lowers stress but makes you feel good, overall contributing to your greater health, according to a 2015 study by The Society of Behavioral Medicine. If you suffer from chest pain or high blood pressure, you may want to pursue a passion that helps you lower your risk of heart disease. To honor Heart Health Month at the Center for Health & Wellbeing, we’ve compiled a step-by-step process to find and follow your passion through:
Set Expectations for Your Heart
Setting realistic expectations is the first step to a healthy heart. True passion is not found overnight. First, don’t feel pressured. It takes time to find a hobby or an interest one pursues wholeheartedly. You also don’t have to be great at something you’re passionate about.
Set your expectations low and limit the amount of time you focus on finding or developing your passion.
“Develop a big-picture perspective of your success in 2020,” says Christy Wilson Delk, a business professor and former 15-year franchisee of Kids ‘R’ Kids Academy.
Delk advises to focus on a new passion.
“A note of caution: This is for one year, not the rest of your life!” Delk says. “Don’t overcommit. Next year, I plan to include the new things I want to focus on, like playing the guitar that is sitting in my closet and learning how to cook healthy, nourishing soups.”
This also means limiting the amount of money you dedicate to your craft. Invest a small portion of your time and money and then gradually increase your commitment to your craft.
Find A Passion to Improve Your Heart Health
Whether it’s gardening or improv comedy, find an activity that brings you joy. Imagine a passion that is free from monetary compensation or one that won’t feel like a job to you. Your self-confidence will improve no matter what passion you decide to pursue.
To get started, reminisce on moments or activities that brought you happiness or relaxation. What did you enjoy doing as a child? What dreams did you have growing up? Create two separate lists: a list of activities or moments you enjoy and a list of activities, or jobs, you absolutely loathe.
For inspiration, ask friends or family for suggestions on what they’re passionate about or enjoy doing. Once you have found your interests, choose one and cultivate it. Make a habit of practicing your passion first every day for 20 minutes. If you already have a passion, research how to get further involved and invested. Perhaps, your passion lies in volunteering. What are some additional organizations you can volunteer your time to?
Try creating something brand new when working with your hobby. For example, your passion may be baking. What are some recipes you’d like to create? If baking is your passion, how about filming your creations and publishing your videos on the Internet to share with family and friends? Adding a twist to your craft will inspire you and get your blood flowing, which raises the oxygen levels in your body optimal for heart health.
Network to Your Heart’s Content
We know that there is a greater risk of heart disease for those who have depression or are socially isolated. Sharing your passion with others can not only help lower that risk but boost your personal growth as well.
Consider visiting a local community center, like the Center for Health & Wellbeing where classes are being offered centered around your passion or speak with a life counselor for guidance like Sara Wright, the Center’s Wellbeing Guide.
The first few months of pursuing your dream can be difficult. Finding a peer who has the same passions as you can challenge and empower you to do your best. There are a variety of online forums and groups such as Facebook groups to take advantage . “Whether success for you means starting a business, or it means having something more personal, heed the words of Walt Disney as you design your roadmap,” Delk says. “The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”
Ignite Your Passion and Fuel It
Turn your passion into a lifelong career. Join us Wednesday, February 19, for our program, Turn Your Passion Into A Business. Interested in learning more about finding happiness and pursuing your craft? Check out The Freedom Series Part II — Ignite Your Passion and Embrace Bliss taking place from 6 to 8 PM on Tuesday, February 25, at the Center.