People hunger for a sense of purpose in life. For some it may be a job, family, health, spirituality, or something else. The fact is that many people are searching for the meaning of life, and some think they know it, while others are still searching.
Recent study is now showing that older adults who believe they have a strong purpose in life are more likely to partake in health screenings such as colonoscopies and mammograms. (1)
People with a higher life purpose spend more time on preventative health care.
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences conducted a study on 7,168 Americans age 50 and older. They discovered that the higher people scored on a “purpose in life” scale showed more interest their health by investing in various screening tests over the next six years of their life. (1,2)
The surveys of the screenings contained some questions such as: “I have a sense of direction and purpose in life,” and “My daily activities often seem trivial and unimportant to me.” (1)
Those who spent more time on preventative health care spent less time in the hospital. Another research from Chicago connected the link between a greater purpose in life with a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s disease, as well as fewer strokes and heart attacks. (3)
There is an association, but not a ’cause and effect’ link.
Eric Kim, a PhD candidate at the University of Michigan, indicated that the findings point to an association between purpose and health screenings, but in no way does is it a cause and effect link. He added that there are some factors that explain the link such as education, wealth, depression, or anxiety, to name a few. (1)
People with a strong sense of purpose also found themselves less likely to end up in a hospital. Over the course of six years, participants in the study spent an average of seven nights in the hospital. This statistic dipped 17% for every point on the purpose scale. (1)
It appears that people with a greater sense of purpose want to be around for a longer period of time, so it would make sense for them to take care of their health much more efficiently. What’s your purpose in life?
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