A recent meta-study in the U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health looked at the impact of having a “higher purpose” can have on health. Some 136,265 people participated in 10 different studies, mostly in the United States and Japan.
A significant association was detected between having a higher purpose in life and reduced mortality from all causes and specifically from cardiovascular disease. The participants were 67 years old, on average, at the beginning of the studies, and they were followed for seven years. During that time, more than 14,500 of them died and more than 4,000 suffered cardiovascular events such as strokes or heart attacks.
Analysis of the data, which includes adjustments for other known factors (like did the participants smoke?) showed that a higher sense of purpose was linked to a reduction of about 20 percent in mortality from all causes, as well as a lower risk of cardiovascular problems. This is a significant difference, and this knowledge should encourage us to help people find their purpose. It’s not just nice to have one — it can actually save lives.
So in the meantime, keep looking for your purpose!