Living with Purpose: Unveiling the Health Benefits of a Meaningful Life

A Quote showcasing the point of the blog. Living With Purpose.

One must ask themselves and reflect on their life if they are currently living an intentional life fueled by purpose. Without purpose we are merely surviving on autopilot with no real direction in life. Living with intentional purpose is not just a feel good statement that provides some fulfillment but provides key mental and physical health markers.

In a study labeled “Purpose in Life as a Predictor of Mortality Across Adulthood” – published in Psychological Science, examines the relationship between having a sense of purpose in life and mortality rates among adults. Which concludes that:

  • Having a sense of purpose in life is associated with lower mortality rates in adults.
  • Individuals with a stronger sense of purpose tend to engage in healthier behaviors and have better overall well-being.
  • Cultivating a sense of purpose may have long-term benefits for physical and mental health.

When we look at studies that exclusively review the older population such as “Purpose and Mortality in Older Adults” – This study, published in JAMA Network Open, explores the association between purpose in life and mortality rates in older adults. We once again can conclude living with intentional purpose has a positive effect on our health. They found the following:

  • Older adults who report a higher sense of purpose are more likely to live longer.
  • Purpose in life is associated with a reduced risk of mortality, independent of other factors like socioeconomic status and health conditions.
  • A sense of purpose provides a motivational framework that promotes healthy aging and resilience in older adults

So how do we find purpose? Especially in a world that has gone through so much political and economic shift over the last few years. We find ourselves in a world that is even more disconnected than ever before between mind numbing social media updates mixed with doom and gloom headlines. 

We can find purpose in all we do through first reflecting on our core values.  Once we have determined what they are and why they mean so much to us, we can use these core values to identify what our deepest aspirations are in life. Who is it we desire to become? What do we want to represent? 

We can then use these to set meaningful goals and a roadmap determining where we are now and where we wish to be. We then pursue that goal with vigorous intensity. Many fail the next steps simply by being too focused on the end result and not enjoying the process or journey, which is counterproductive in the pursuit of building purpose. Some important things to consider on your journey to find purpose in smaller meaningful ways while pursuing larger goals:

  1. Seek meaning within your current work: Sometimes, finding purpose in your work may not require changing jobs or careers. Look for ways to find meaning within your current role. Identify aspects of your work that you find fulfilling or ways you can contribute to a greater cause.
  2. Embrace continuous learning and growth: Engage in personal and professional development. Continuously learn new skills, expand your knowledge, and challenge yourself. By investing in your growth, you can discover new passions and directions that can bring purpose to your work.
  3. Explore new opportunities: If your current work doesn’t align with your values or bring you a sense of purpose, consider exploring new opportunities. Research and discover industries, organizations, or roles that resonate with your values and interests. Networking, volunteering, or taking on side projects can help you gain exposure and find new avenues that offer greater purpose.
  4. Connect with others: Cultivate relationships with like-minded individuals who share your values and passions. Surrounding yourself with supportive and inspiring people can help you explore new perspectives, find mentorship, and create opportunities for collaboration that amplify your sense of purpose.

By choosing to find purpose in your life, you are not only adding a tool to aid in your health and longevity  but also equipping yourself with the means to project your life much further than you could achieve without it. 

Further studies to review on the topic of living with purpose:

  1. “Purpose in Life as a Predictor of Mortality Across Adulthood” – This study, published in Psychological Science, examines the relationship between having a sense of purpose in life and mortality rates among adults. You can find the study here: https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797610368061
  2. “Purpose and Mortality in Older Adults” – This study, published in JAMA Network Open, explores the association between purpose in life and mortality rates in older adults. You can access the study here: https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamanetworkopen/fullarticle/2734063
  3. “Finding Purpose in Life: A Review of the Literature” – This article provides a comprehensive review of the existing literature on the subject of purpose in life. It discusses the different dimensions of purpose, its impact on well-being, and strategies for finding and cultivating purpose. You can read the article here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3678182/
  4. “The Power of Purpose: How Living with Purpose Can Improve Your Mental Health” – This article, published by the American Psychological Association (APA), explores the relationship between living with purpose and mental health outcomes. It discusses the benefits of having a sense of purpose and provides practical strategies for cultivating purpose in life. You can access the article here: https://www.apa.org/monitor/2013/11/power-purpose

“The Purpose of Life: Perspectives from Three Wisdom Traditions” – This paper, published in the Journal of Religion and Health, examines the concept of purpose from the perspectives of three wisdom traditions: Buddhism, Confucianism, and Hinduism. It offers insights into how these traditions understand and cultivate a sense of purpose. You can find the paper here: https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s10943-018-0609-5

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