In the 2022 Australian Community Survey, NCLS Research asked Australians about their sense of purpose and their hope for the future. Two thirds of those surveyed agree their life has a sense of purpose and 6 in 10 indicate they feel hopeful about the future.
A sense of purpose in life and hope for the future are factors that can contribute to personal wellbeing.
When asked if they agree that their life has a sense of purpose, some 65% (around two thirds) of Australians surveyed agree their life has a sense of purpose, and 23% are unsure. Some 12% feel they do not have a sense of purpose.
When asked if they feel hopeful about the future, some 61% indicate they feel hopeful about the future, and 27% are unsure. Some 12% do not feel hopeful for the future.
Dr Ruth Powell, Director of NCLS Research, said the idea of ‘human flourishing’ is one of the ways to understand and measure wellbeing. It is a concept found in the writings of Aristotle and embraces the idea of virtuous living, ethics and moral character.
“Research has found that people who are more hopeful and optimistic about the future are more resilient to negative shocks, both in terms of their behaviour and their life satisfaction,” says Dr Powell.
She says that because religion and spirituality have meaning and purpose at their heart, they offer a potent and profound model of human flourishing.
“We have to acknowledge with humility and grief, the great damage that has been done in the name of religion,” says Dr Powell. “Yet there is also a vision of abundant life. Religious and spiritual practices and beliefs provide a coherent reinforcement of a meaningful world view, where values are practised and sustained in community.”
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