The Life-Giving Properties Of Having A Purpose In Life
We can juice, we can jog, we can jettison all junk food but we might be missing a step if we can't justify our existence.
Having a sense of purpose in life does a lot more than give us a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, according to a few key research studies.
Aside from putting the brakes on late stage cognitive decline such as Dementia and Alzheimer's, feeling our lives have meaning and purpose has been found to act as a buffer against heart attacks and strokes.
We could literally be extending our lives by finding what really makes us tick.
From Science Daily, referring to a Mount Sinai study in the US:
Previous research has linked purpose to psychological health and well-being, but the new Mount Sinai analysis found that a high sense of purpose is associated with a 23 percent reduction in death from all causes and a 19 percent reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, or the need for coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) or a cardiac stenting procedure.
"In a study published in the Archives of General Psychiatry, researchers from the Rush University Medical Center in Chicago followed 951 older adults who were free of dementia. Over a period of seven years, about one in six ended up with dementia. But those who expressed the greatest happiness and sense of purpose in life at the beginning of the study were the least likely to develop Alzheimer's disease. They also had the lowest rates of mild cognitive impairment or other cognitive decline."
"Researchers analyzed data from nearly 7,000 American adults between the ages of 51 and 61 who filled out psychological questionnaires on the relationship between mortality and life purpose....
"People without a strong life purpose were more than twice as likely to die between the study years of 2006 and 2010, compared with those who had one."
Summing up the importance of having a life purpose is cardiologist Alan Rozanski, who was involved in the Mount Sinai study, quoted in the NPR story:
"The need for meaning and purpose is No. 1," Rozanski adds.
"It's the deepest driver of well-being there is."