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You Might Live Longer If You Have A Sense Of Purpose, Study

According to a recent study, people with a sense of purpose are more likely to maintain healthy behaviours and face stress more positively [1].

A strong sense of purpose in life refers to the extent to which a person believes their life has direction and ultimate goals. A person's sense of purpose may differ depending on the individual. There may be people who wish to contribute to their communities, others who wish to succeed in their careers, and others who wish to provide for their families [2].

Having a purpose lowers the risk of all types of mortality, regardless of gender, race, or ethnicity, though the effects are more pronounced among women.

Here are the important points from the study:

  • A sense of purpose in life has been found to be strongly associated with an increased lifespan in previous studies [3][4].
  • A large, diverse, and nationwide sample of older adults in the United States was analysed. This was done in order to identify associations between a sense of purpose and mortality across gender, race, and ethnicity.
  • It was found that those with the strongest sense of purpose had a 15.2 per cent lower risk of death than those with the least sense of purpose.
  • No significant differences were found in this association, regardless of the participants' race or ethnicity.
  • Moreover, women were more strongly associated with longevity than men, although both benefited from purpose [5].
  • Researchers found that women reduced their risk of all-cause mortality by 34 per cent compared to men, whose risk was reduced by 20 per cent.
  • As it has been well documented, stress can negatively affect a variety of body systems, so managing stress is essential to maintaining good health.
  • The study pointed out that individuals with a higher sense of purpose report less reactivity to their daily stressors and are less likely to be stressed or anxious in the face of ambiguous events in their lives. Possibly, these effects result from individuals being able to focus on the big picture rather than getting distressed by daily issues [6].
  • According to previous research, people who are more purposeful also engage in more health-promoting behaviours, such as engaging in physical activity, smoking less, and using preventive care services more frequently. Whether these traits can help a person live longer is not yet known, but it is likely that they combine to lead to a longer lifespan [7][8].

On A Final Note...

The study determined that people who are more purposeful report lower levels of reactivity to daily stressors and may live longer. Additionally, the findings indicated that purposeful individuals also engage in greater health-promoting behaviours, and women demonstrated better results than men.

Story first published: Saturday, November 26, 2022, 17:08 [IST]
Read more about: life longevity sense of purpose
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