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Art & Soul: The Art Of Well Being - How Do We Find Purpose In A Pandemic?

Vic Strecher
University of Michigan School of Public Health

This week, "Art and Soul" is about the art of well being, which is really being challenged in many people by everything going on in our world right now, including the COVID-19 pandemic.  WEMU's Lisa Barry talks with University of Michigan professor and author of several books, including "Life On Purpose," Dr. Vic Stretcher.  Dr. Stretcher talks about how we might all come out better on the other side of this global health crisis by focusing on our sense of purpose.

Dr. Stretcher says having a low purpose is a significant risk factor in your life, such as smoking or being obese.  He says negative experiences in our lives, including a pandemic, can force us to take a closer look at what's really important and help us learn what matters most.  He says people often find their purpose during difficult times in their lives and often grow from those experiences.

Dr. Stretcher defines purpose as a goal or set of goals set around the things that matter most.  

He suggests looking back in a year from now...a year into the pandemic and asking yourself:

  • Did you discover strengths you didn't know you had before?  
  • Did you find new pathways in your life? 
  • New values that you care about more now then you did a year ago? 

If you did, maybe you have achieved some degree of growth and a strengthened sense of purpose to carry you through in the days ahead.


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— Lisa Barry is the host of All Things Considered on WEMU. You can contact Lisa at 734.487.3363, on Twitter @LisaWEMU, or email her at lbarryma@emich.edu

Lisa Barry was a reporter, and host of All Things Considered on 89.1 WEMU.
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