Many people would argue that the key to living a long, healthy, and happy life is mainly connected to eating healthy foods, exercising regularly, getting enough sleep, avoiding stress, and so on. Although these instances might be proven to be crucial for living longer, they’re actually not the most essential.
According to multiple recent studies, the most fundamental thing for longevity is having a sense of purposefulness in life. This is something that a lot of people don’t realize, but having clear goals and living life one day at a time can help you add years to your life more than constantly worrying about your meal plans or various workout routines.
Of course, this doesn’t mean that these things aren’t equally important, but wandering aimlessly through life can decrease your life span probably more than you’ve thought. So, how can you combat this serious issue and give at least some form of an answer to the question of the meaning of one’s life?
The Research Behind Finding Life’s Purpose
We’ve already indicated how meaningful it is to try to find purpose in life
. People who struggle to accomplish this have much bigger chances of developing serious mental conditions such as depression and anxiety. These ailments are pretty hard to tackle at times, so we need to be extremely cautious when trying to deal with them.
In most cases, these debilitating symptoms worsen as time goes by, if they’re not treated properly. There’s a study from 2014, which clearly shows that a good indicator of healthy aging is connected to having a purpose in life. Researchers actually surveyed and followed a group of 6,000 people throughout the period of 14 years. Those who reported a greater sense of purpose outlived their peers and had a 15% lower risk of death.
What’s also interesting to note is that it apparently doesn’t matter when people find this purpose in life. This means that even someone who’s 70 years old and suddenly finds her or his true calling, will also have a lower risk of death than someone who continues to struggle in this regard.
The Strong Correlation Between Purpose and Longevity
All of this indicates just how important it is to not give up and continue to try to find one’s meaning or general direction in life, even when the current situation seems bleak. We all go through rough periods in life and it’s crucial to overcome these moments by being hopeful
that things are going to change eventually. One way to motivate yourself and find greater purpose is by learning and trying out new things, or by caring for someone or something: it can be either a child or a pet – just as long as you become actively involved in something.
For example, getting a dog would also mean that you would have more responsibility: you’d have to feed the dog, take it for a walk
, clean it, go to the vet regularly, learn and further inform yourself on how to properly care for it, etc. Slowly, but surely you’d get into the whole thing and embrace your new role. Suddenly, you’d find yourself watching videos on how to train your dog properly. You’d be reading books and articles on how to cook the most nutritious food for your dog. And, you’d scroll through specialized blogs like Totally Goldens
until 3:00 AM to get more and more information on how to be a better dog owner overall.
And without even realizing, those dark moments that you previously had would be long gone. Having this kind of responsibility and embracing a new role can be a huge turning point in anyone’s life.
The Bottom Line: Why Does a Sense of Purpose Matter?
People who struggle to find their true meaning in life oftentimes feel lost and disconnected from the rest of the world. Frequently they feel as if though they’ve done all there is to do in life, and have no interest whatsoever in taking care of themselves or getting the control over their lives, negative moods and/or destructive behaviors.
As we’ve already indicated, it’s pretty clear that finding a greater purpose in life can be even more important than eating healthy foods all the time or exercising regularly. It’s also important to note that those people who had reported that they had a sense of direction in life were also the ones who actually took care of these things and made sure that they did eat nutritious meals and worked out on a regular basis.
In other words, you could say that there’s a strong connection between having a sense of purpose and having a sense of responsibility. That’s why it’s paramount to instill this sense of responsibility in those individuals that struggle to find a sense of purposefulness. One way to achieve this is by encouraging these individuals to take care of someone or something else (a child, or a pet), and to learn new things. That’s something that can definitely help these individuals immensely – it would not only help them discover a sense of direction, but would add years to their lives, as well.
If you’re interested in an online course designed to guide you through deep self-reflection to create your life's purpose at any age, try I’ve Decided to Live 120 Years
by Ilchi Lee.