By Sheila Kemper Dietrich - May 30, 2014
|The Real Secret to a Long Life|
Having a sense of purpose has been shown to add years to people's lives —and the benefit can be realized throughout adulthood. According to an article in The Week, that’s the conclusion of a long-term study that tracked the physical and mental health of more than 6,100 Americans aged 20 to 75. Previous research has shown purposefulness to be one of the strongest predictors of longevity, but this is the first time its impact on mortality has been isolated from other influences.
Below is more information about the study as quoted from The Week:
At the beginning of the study, participants’ sense of purpose was assessed according to their response to statements such as “Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them.” They also answered questions about their emotional state and the quality of their relationships. Over the 14-year study period, 569 participants (roughly 9 percent of the group) died, and those subjects had all scored lower than their counterparts when it came to purposefulness. The findings held even after controlling for factors such as positive outlook, suggesting that purpose itself drives longevity. “Finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve,” Carleton University psychology professor Patrick Hill tells BBC.com, “can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose".
The question now for all of us is--"Do we know what our purpose is?" and "Can we articulate it in the form of everyday action?" From what I have learned our purpose can be whatever is meaningful to us and does not need to be complicated or earth shattering. It does need to be something motivating and manageable. What passion can get you out of bed each morning?
For me my purpose is in living a healthier life and helping my family and others do the same. What is yours?