Another study finds that having a sense of meaning and purpose in your life might do more than just give you focus -- it might help you live longer, too.
The study, involving more than 9,000 British people averaging 65 years of age, found that those who professed to feeling worthwhile and having a sense of purpose in life were less likely to die during the more than eight years the researchers tracked them.
Over the study period, 9 percent of people with the highest levels of this type of well-being died, compared with 29 percent of those with the lowest levels, according to the report in the Nov. 7 issue of The Lancet.
The study comes on the heels of similar research published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. In that study, a team led by Eric Kim of the University of Michigan found that older adults with a strong sense of purpose in life may be particularly likely to get health screenings such as colonoscopies and mammograms.
The new British study was led by Andrew Steptoe, director of the Institute of Epidemiology and Health Care at University College London. His team found that, after taking other factors into account, people with the highest levels of "purpose in life" were 30 percent less likely to die during the study period, living an average of two years longer than those with the lowest levels.
"We have previously found that happiness is associated with a lower risk of death," Steptoe said in a college news release. "These analyses show that the meaningfulness and sense of purpose that older people have in their lives are also related to survival. We cannot be sure that higher well-being necessarily causes lower risk of death, since the relationship may not be causal. But the findings raise the intriguing possibility that increasing well-being could help to improve physical health."
Read the full article at "A 'Purpose in Life' May Extend Yours" at U.S. News & World Report