We know that psychological wellbeing, positive emotions, and strong relationships are all associated with greater life expectancy. Above and beyond those factors, having a sense of purpose in your life may also help you live longer.
To draw this conclusion, researchers at Carleton University in Canada analyzed data from the Midlife in the United States study, which followed 6,000 participants over the course of 14 years.
The investigators focused on the volunteers’ self-reported level of purpose in life through statements such as: “Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them.”
The researchers found that those with greater purpose in life had lower mortality risks, regardless of whether they were younger, middle-age, or older participants.
Other research has shown that having a sense of purpose reduces stress, improves coping skills, and is associated with healthier lifestyle choices — which could explain some of the longevity benefits observed.
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