1000 petals by axinia

the only truth I know is my own experience

Want to live longer? – find a purpose in life, a new study shows. June 22, 2009

I love the scientific evidence of things that seem logical to me. Here is another good piece of news I want to share with you:

“It can be anything — from wanting to accomplish a goal in life, to achieving something in a volunteer organization, to as little as reading a series of books,” said study author Dr. Patricia Boyle, a neuropsychologist at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center and an assistant professor of behavioral sciences at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago.

We found that people who reported a greater level of purpose in life were substantially less likely to die over the follow-up period — only about half as likely to die over the follow-up period — as compared to people with a lower level of purpose,” Boyle said. The follow-up period averaged nearly three years.

Boyle and her colleagues studied 1,238 older adults already participating in two ongoing research studies at Rush, the Rush Memory and Aging Project and the Minority Aging Research Study. The participants were all dementia-free when the study began and averaged 78 years old.

At the start of the study, the participants answered questions about their purpose in life, rating themselves on different areas meant to measure the tendency to derive meaning from life and to feel that one is working toward goals.

The average score on the sense-of-purpose evaluation was 3.7 of a possible 5, Boyle said.

When comparing scores, Boyle found that those with a higher sense of purpose had about half the risk of dying during the follow-up period as did those with a lower sense of purpose. And that was true, she said, even after controlling for such factors as depressive symptoms, chronic medical conditions and disability.

The finding follows another recent study, done by others, in which the researchers found that retirees older than 65 who volunteered had less than half the risk of dying during about a four-year follow-up period as did their peers who did not volunteer their time.

What’s the link? Boyle can’t say for sure. But it could be that having a greater sense of purpose helps multiple systems of the body function better, conferring protection in the face of illness. Boyle said that in future research they hope to find out if people can be inspired to have purpose in life, perhaps by being taught to set goals and work toward them. 

I  wonder if everyone of my readers has a purpose/goal in life? I am pretty sure, yes. It would be great to learn about your ideas…thanks!

Love, axinia

(author of the image unknown)


13 Responses to “Want to live longer? – find a purpose in life, a new study shows.”

  1. Molly Says:

    I know what you mean. Some things that are logical, obvious, and science comes along to “Prove them.” As if we need proof of that…

    • Bad Karma Says:

      @Molly – Yes we do. It is only when science proves “what we already knew” that we laugh and say, “I knew that!” But when it disproves something we thought to be true, we seem to find greater value in that. Why?

  2. axinia Says:

    we want scientiful evidences, that is our times 🙂

    I must honestly admit I like evidence s for thing which I guess are true but I lack personal experience in.

    Recently I heard about fantastic evidece of Hubble resent research on the Universe, will post it soon.

    • Tomas Says:

      everything you say sounds very nicely and is the truth. There is just one problem – it is my personal problem- I rejoice over my being here and now today and have no plans for tomorrow. That may sound strangely if I would silence my belonging to the ranks of the disabled who were recognized as unfit for life and thus were robbed of any goals. In the light of the above, my pictures are as my refusal to renounce my right to breath . And thus I smile – Thank you for the possibility to be while leaving my response to your post.

      • axinia Says:

        thank you Tomas, I am always happy to read your comments…you are a deep and beautiful soul…

        It is good to ahve no plans, I also ahve none actually! But to have a purpose is soemthing different. It is like..for me the only purpose of my life is my spiritual growth and serving humanity as much as I can. And this can be done every day, without plans. But this is a high purpose.

  3. Rambler Says:

    I think it makes a lot of sense to see people living longer having purpose, i dont know how much of practical truth is present in the study, but it does help to have a purpose in life I guess,

  4. Peter Says:

    You have a great sense to choose a right picture for particular subject. 🙂
    It is not so important how many years we live, but what we’ve done and how many people will remember us.

  5. Purpose is an illusion. It is one among the so many illusions by which we all consider it worthwhile to live and die for the imagined ’cause’. But having a purpose is better than not having any. At least it is an indication that we try to reach the higher echelons of self.

    Destination Infinity

    • axinia Says:

      DI, thanks… purpose is an illusion, you are right! But the purpose of the evolvement of the Self is not a joke, it is the only real thing…the only motor of evolutioin…

  6. All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. – William Shakespeare

    I tend to agree and disagree with the above statement.

    I agree because life is transient and has to end sooner or later. It’s true for everyone and the length of the role one plays on the stage may not be completely in our hands.

    I disagree because, unlike a stage play, where the actors merely act out the well rehearsed script of the director, in the stage play called life, our role is impromptu and it is in one’s own hands to make his/her role a success.

    As for the goals in my life, Axinia, they keep changing. Because it’s just like a game of soccer, where we can never be sure of the number of goals needed to win the match before kick-off. That depends on so many factors and can keep changing until the referee blows the final whistle (in the game of life, it’s Death’s whistle).

    When I was a kid, I had completely impractical goals that were sheer fantasy. Later, they became more practical but very ordinary and mundane. Now, the goals that I have set for myself are very difficult to achieve but certainly not impossible. Who knows, they may change later.

    As for living a long life, that really isn’t a concern for me. If I remain true to myself and my goals every second I breathe, I consider that as a worthy life, even if the circumstances cut it short.

  7. Hicham Says:

    This is true. I think all of you’ve heared many times about how if someone got serious disease and put up a fight with this -beside the normal medications- he/she can pass through it because they have a purpose.

    Even away from illness, it seems who have such purpose and try the best to reach can generate a positive energy that keep them on moving.

    Hereby I wonder whether we can count ‘blogging’ as a purpose of life to keep on 😉 -joke-

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