People Who Feel They Have A Purpose In Life Live Longer

People Who Feel They Have A Purpose In Life Live Longer
by Patti Neighmond
July 28, 2014
http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2014/07/28/334447274/people-who-feel-they-have-a-purpose-in-life-live-longer

Of course, purpose means different things to different people.
Patrick Hill, an assistant professor of psychology at Carleton University in Ottawa, says it could be as simple as making sure one’s family is happy. It could be bigger, like contributing to social change.
It could be more self-focused, like doing well on the job. Or it could be about creativity.

It’s not exactly clear how purpose might benefit health.
Purposeful individuals may simply lead healthier lives, says Hill, but it also could be that a sense of purpose protects against the harmful effects of stress.

Earlier research has shown that when people are surrounded by people of different ethnic or racial groups than their own, their level of stress increases.
Burrow wanted to know if thinking about their sense of purpose might reduce that stress.

He had about half the students write for about 10 minutes about their life’s direction. The other half wrote about the last movie they saw.
They were all then given packets that listed the name of every stop. When they got to a stop, they were asked to assess how they felt and how much they felt that way by placing an “X” in a box next to negative emotions such as feeling scared, fearful, alone or distressed.
… the students who wrote about their sense of purpose reported no feelings of increased stress at all.

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Could Thinking Positively About Aging Be The Secret Of Health?
May 28, 2016
http://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2016/05/28/479751942/could-thinking-positively-about-aging-be-the-secret-of-health

having something that gives one’s life a sense of purpose can pay amazing health dividends, according to researcher Patricia Boyle, a neuropsychologist and behavioral scientist at Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago.

Purpose, says Boyle, doesn’t have to be something complicated and lofty, just something that’s goal oriented and gives you a sense of accomplishment.

“People who have the sense that their life is meaningful are much less likely to suffer early mortality, they’re less like to develop disability, that is, trouble taking care of themselves,” says Boyle.

What’s more, “they’re less likely to suffer strokes. They’re also substantially less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, and they have much less cognitive decline.”

Boyle says having a purpose in life is a robust predictor of how well someone will live and thrive as they age.

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