5 Ways to Happiness: Find a Purpose

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Fri, November 22 2013 at 6:15 PM, Updated: Fri, November 22 2013 at 6:19 PM

We've come a long way we are now to day number five in our special series, 5 Ways to Happiness.

Bobby Benson is one of many men at the Medford Gospel Mission who have found their purpose in life.

"I've become a member of the neighborhood church and the neighborhood church and this mission are my family now. And as a resident volunteer I get to serve God by serving others here and it's just been really rewarding to me," said Benson.

A Long, Hard Road

However, the road to happiness wasn't easy for Benson who found himself jobless and homeless in Medford.

"I spent most of the summer, about six months, intoxicated in the sticker bushes until I came to my senses. Came into the mission and they just sucked me up like family."   

His story is similar to others at the mission.

"I came here strung out on drugs and alcohol," began James Byrd, the Mens Coordinator at the Mission.

"My marriage fell apart, I was asked to leave my house, my children wouldn't talk to me anymore," he said.

"I ended up in a mental hospital because of depression and I was suicidal. I was really at my wits end," said Laurence Rose, another man who lives and works at the Medford Gospel Mission.

Happiness Through Finding a Purpose

Like his friends, Benson is finally happy because he's found purpose through working with people who he says are just as needy as he is.

Benson has found meaning in religion and serving others.

Figuring out a purpose in life, is the fifth way to happiness.

"For some people that might be more of a spiritual connection," said Doug Smith, Associate Professor of Psychology at Southern Oregon University.

But it doesn't have to involve religion or spirituality. It can be as simple as having a goal, like growing a garden, raising children or serving others. Those goals that can lead to a sense of purpose.

"Doing things that bring good will to others, well being to others is a very significant pathway to your own happiness," said Smith.

"I know most of the, at least a large percentage of the homeless people by their names and they know me and I get to see them everyday, see how they're doing and help them and it's just really fulfilling to me," said Benson.

Making a difference by  helping people just as in-need as he once was.

Recapping the 5 Ways to Happiness

Just to recap this week's series 5 Ways to Happiness, the first way is to choose to be happy and figure out those things you love or are good at and do them more often.

Think of the things that bring zest to your life. Something as simple as more physical activity, eating the food you love or just decorating your office with colors that inspire you may do the trick

The second way to a happier you, is to  see the positives in situations that arise in life.

Third, develop meaningful relationships with other people.

The fourth way to be happy is to be thankful for what you have right now.

Finally, the fifth way is to find a purpose in life. For some it's religion, or raising children, or making a difference by serving others.

We sincerely hope this series has helped you become a happier person.

One expert i spoke with says his research indicates that people are better off actively pursuing happiness than sitting back and waiting for happiness to come to them.

So go ahead, chase happiness down and keep this week's 5 Ways to Happiness in your back pocket.

What do you think? Sound off on our Facebook page and on Twitter, or leave a comment below.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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