Sense of Purpose May Extend Longevity

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Do you wake up every morning excited to head to work? If your job doesn’t necessarily incite passion, what about volunteer or extracurricular activities or your family? In fact, a sense of purpose isn’t just about making you happy in the present moment, new research shows that it may have an impact on your longevity.

People who feel in control of their lives tend to live longer than those who don’t, according to a study published in the Lancet. Researchers at the University of London monitored the wellbeing of 9,000 English participants over age 65 and found that those who were the most fulfilled were 30 percent more likely to live through a follow-up 8 1/2 years later.

Researchers used a questionnaire to measure participant sense of control, sense of purpose, and feeling that they were worthwhile. In all, 9 percent of those in the highest wellbeing group died within the follow-up period while 29 percent of those in the least satisfied category died within the same period, according to Huffington Post.

“These [latest] analyses show that the meaningfulness and sense of purpose that older people have in their lives are also related to survival,” Professor Andrew Steptoe, who led the study, said to Huffington Post. “We cannot be sure that higher wellbeing necessarily causes lower risk of death, since the relationship may not be causal.”

“But the findings raise the intriguing possibility that increasing well-being could help to improve physical health,” he added, noting that further research is needed.

Bottom line – it’s never too late to go after your passion in life and in the end, your happiness in mind and spirit may be just as connected to your health as diet and exercise. Take time to be mindful of living your life well.

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