Purpose makes for a better life

“As I see it, everything begins and ends with the inner spirit, the sanctum where courage, dignity, respect, integrity and passion reside,” wrote Gerald Celente in the Summer 2014 Trends Journal. His article, “Blame ‘I Don’t Care,’” examined how a lack of pride in self and country affects an individual’s health and spirit.

A new and growing body of research that suggests having a sense of purpose is beneficial to one’s health is bearing Celente out.

A British study, reported in the Nov. 7 issue of The Lancet, found that a sense of purpose extends life. More than 9,000 study subjects, average age 65, answered a set of questions designed to reveal their sense of purpose. Over the eight-year course of the study, 9 percent of people with the highest levels of purpose died, compared with 29 percent of those with the lowest levels.

A raft of other recent studies link purpose in life to better physical and mental health and to healthy behaviors, such as seeking preventive care. They have been shown to be less likely to have a stroke, heart attack, or develop Alzheimer’s disease.

You may want to ask yourself the standard set of questions researchers have been using to identify people with and without purpose:
• I enjoy making plans for the future and working to make them a reality.
• My daily activities often seem trivial and unimportant to me.
• I am an active person in carrying out the plans I set for myself.
• I don’t have a good sense of what it is I’m trying to accomplish in life.
• I sometimes feel as if I’ve done all there is to do in my life.
• I live life one day at a time and don’t really think about the future.
• I have a sense of direction and purpose in my life.

One significant point many researchers make is that it is possible to develop and raise one’s sense of purpose. And the institute’s Agequake trend line is forecasting that as people live longer, they become more compelled to activate their creative and even entrepreneurial energies to create a life with more purpose and meaning.

There is opportunity here for those with the vision and focus to create businesses, community movements or social networks that cater to a growing need to find or rediscover one’s sense of purpose.

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