Does having a sense of purpose help you live longer?

Published in the journal Psychological Science, the research from Patrick Hill of Carleton University in Canada and Nicholas Turiano of the University of Rochester Medical Center is reinforcing the idea that a sense of purpose reduces mortality risks.


“Our findings point to the fact that finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose,” says Hill. “So the earlier someone comes to a direction for life, the earlier these protective effects may be able to occur.”

It’s shown that a sense of purpose can extend beyond the workplace and into retirement, so rediscovering passions such as painting, gardening, and writing may not only be fun and rewarding ways to spend time. They could also add days, months–even years to one’s life.

Read the summary of Hill’s and Turiano’s research, “Purpose in Life as a Predictor of Mortality Across Adulthood” at the Association for Psychological Science website.

Senior Lifestyle column is sponsored by Lake Howard Heights.

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