SAN DIEGO, May 20, 2014 — A life filled with purpose provides meaning to existence and the motivation to create goals which accomplish it.
Researchers are finding that having a higher purpose in life, extending beyond mere day-to-day survival, has major health benefits and could also provide protection against many forms of dementia.
Discovering what a true calling and purpose in life might be has been perceived by Dr. Jonas Salk, published in The Center for Spirituality and Healing, as “essential for all living beings.”
In fact, Salk stated that, “To have no calling, no responsibility, no hopes or aspirations, is to be outside of life.”
Having a higher purpose in life, also known as eudaimonic well-being, originated from Aristotle who believed that reaching the fullest, individual human potential was its greatest benefit.
“Purpose in life seems to protect against the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and appears to help older people maintain cognition even when they have some of the hallmark changes of Alzheimer’s in the brain,” says Patricia A. Boyle, a researcher at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, published in The Dana Foundation.
As part of a larger, ten-year study, Boyle and her colleagues decided to test whether having a purpose in life could be somehow proven, and shown to have health benefits.
A study was conducted of 900 elderly participants who were assessed for their attitudes about their experience in life, sense of direction and goals.
The study showed that those who were more purpose-driven, which represented approximately 10% of the participants, were found to be 2.5 times more unlikely to become victims of Alzheimer’s disease during the duration of the study than the other remaining participants.
Due to these and other research results, including brain studies conducted during autopsies of those participants who had died, Boyle stated that, Laurie, this quote seems to be a near duplicate of the one used in paragraph 6.
Finding a purpose in life is for most persons of all ages, a difficult or daunting task to accomplish.
In an international Gallup poll conducted by researchers Tom Rath and Jim Harter, it was found that less than 20% of those surveyed strongly agreed that they enjoyed what they did each day.
Whether one is at the beginning of their work life or nearing its end, the ability to assess passions, talents, gifts and values is fundamental in finding a purpose in life, throughout its various cycles and stages.
Discovering what brings personal fulfillment and intrinsic reward is the cornerstone of career development, volunteer work, retirement activities, social and extracurricular activities, ability to create meaningful interpersonal relationships, and the development of family life.
In an article by contributing writer Robert Laura, published in Forbes, Laura describes a lesson he learned which was conveyed by a perfect stranger, who told him that, “You’ll know when you have found your purpose in life when you can say your pursuit is timeless, tireless, and causes contagious energy.”
Actress Jane Fonda may best describe the ever-evolving process of discovering the purpose in life when she says, “It’s never too late–never too late to start over, never too late to be happy.”
Until next time, enjoy the ride in good health!
Laurie Edwards-Tate, MS, is a health care provider of over 30 years. As a featured “Communities Digital News” columnist, LifeCycles with Laurie Edwards-Tate emphasizes healthy aging and maintaining independence, while delighting and informing its readers. Laurie is a recognized expert in home and community-based, long-term care services, and is also an educator.
In addition to writing for “Communities Digital News,” Laurie is the President and CEO of her firm, At Your Home Familycare, which serves persons of all ages who are disabled and infirm with a variety of non-medical, in-home care and concierge services.
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