I was fascinated by the research that was highlighted today which concluded that a sense of purpose ‘added years to life’. I wanted to know a bit more about what was behind the headline and to consider what it means for me and those around me.
The research was published in Psychological Science publication and according to a US-Canadian team it applied across adult life. There was the same impact for old and young people. So how was having a purpose defined?
Researchers asked people to assess the extent they agreed or disagreed with three statements. These were.
- Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them
- I live life one day at a time and don’t really think about the future
- I sometimes feel as I’ve done all there is to do in life
The result was that those with an identified purpose were found to have a longer and healthier life. It concluded that finding direction for life and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you to live longer. This was the same regardless of when the person found their purpose.
It is such an interesting thought. I have had a lot of drive and determination to achieve goals throughout my life. This can be in work but also in my hobbies. As well as wanting to be the best I can at work, I also want to make sure that I do my hobbies to the best of my ability. A lot of this is through development and learning, and I am always keen to learn new things and look at things differently.
If you are a very driven person it can be quite damaging particularly if you fail to take notice of the world around you. However, this research is comforting that if I keep striving to do more and be more it may give me a longer and healthier life. I am quite sure whatever the purpose is does not matter. For some it could be about family life and making plans for the future. Others will find their purpose in different places. What is true is that the purpose will be what comes from within you. It is not about money, status or material goods but about what really matters.
If you want to read more about the research check out this link http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27393057