Research shows a sense of purpose is a major factor in living longer and the benefits of perceiving and living a life directed toward a broader purpose are widespread. Having a purpose in life provides individuals with a sense of direction and goals for the future, as well as a marker of flourishing and a life well-lived. Purposeful adults tend to outlive their peers and experience a diminished risk for both cognitive decline and disability in older adulthood. Moreover, having a purpose in life appears to lead to unique health benefits relative to other aspects of psychological well-being, such as having positive relations with others.
This study of 749 people with an average age of 60 found that the participants’ sense of purpose was positively associated with their reports of both vigorous and moderate activity, vegetable intake, flossing, and sleep quality. The authors note, some behaviors they examined serve as proxies for broader health variables. For instance, if an individual flosses regularly, they are likely to participate in other healthy activities. Eating vegetables on regular basis signals healthy eating habits. Sleep quality has been associated with reduced stress.
Participants who reported a higher sense of purpose also reported greater strenuous and moderate activity, likelihood to eat vegetables and floss, as well as better quality sleep.
A strong sense of purpose buffers us from the storms of life. It like the roots of a tree, keeping us steady and grounded even in stormy weather. It provides us with a greater sense of controlling our direction in life, are more motivated and may even feel inspired.
However, our sense of purpose is not to make money it has to be directed at something greater than yourself.
So what is your sense of purpose and are you flossing?
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