Living your life with a strong sense of purpose may lower your risk for early death, heart attack or stroke, new research suggests.
The finding is based on a broad review of past research involving more than 137,000 people in all.
“Psychosocial conditions such as depression,anxiety, chronic stress and social isolation have strong associations with heart disease and mortality,” said study lead author Dr. Randy Cohen, a cardiologist at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospitals in New York City.
Recently, however, attention has focused on the impact that positive emotions have on overall health and well-being, he said.
“Purpose in life is considered a basic psychological need, and has been defined as a sense of meaning and direction in one’s life, which gives the feeling that life is worth living,” he explained.
The research team reviewed 10 published studies. The average follow-up was 8.5 years.
Compared to people with a low sense of purpose, those possessing a strong sense of purpose had a 23 percent reduced risk of death from any cause, the researchers found.