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August 2019 (Vol. 4 Issue 6)

Having a purpose in life reduces the chances of an early death and heart disease
About the author: 

Having a purpose in life reduces the chances of an early death and heart disease image

People who have a sense of purpose are much less likely to die prematurely or suffer heart problems, a new study has found.

A premature death was 20 per cent less likely in people who have a sense of purpose, or have a meaning to their life, or have usefulness to others. It also protects against heart disease, including a heart attack and stroke. It can have a protective effect even in those who already have a heart condition.

The importance of having a strong purpose in life was discovered by researchers from Mount Sinai St Luke`s-Roosevelt Hospital in New York, when they reanalysed 10 studies that involved around 136,000 people. The average age of the participants was 67 and they were followed for around seven years, during which time 14,500 died and another 4,000 developed a heart problem.

But after allowing for all other factors, the researchers found that having a strong sense of purpose or ikigai (a life worth living), as the Japanese studies call it a powerful protective effect.


References

(Source: Psychosomatic Medicine, 2015; 1: doi: 10.1097/PSY.0000000000000274)

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