Researchers at the University of Michigan believe that a focused life reduces the risk of premature death.
Conversely, people who did NOT have a strong sense of purpose in life were more than twice as likely to die. The cause of their death was most likely due to cardiovascular disease, including heart disease, blood clots, and circulatory diseases such as stroke.
We already know that a sense of life purpose is associated with lower expression of proinflammatory genes — physiological inflammation, such as a type that can lead to cardiovascular diseases. It is also associated with lower levels of the adrenal stress hormone called cortisol.
This new research study, published in the JAMA Current Open, involved over 7,000 Americans aged 51 to 66. I am 60 years old, so now this is my age group. As a doctor, I know that our youthful vitality begins to increase markedly at this age, and the daily choices we make become apparent when we are 50 years old or older. (Remember when you could make a red-eye flight and still function well the next day? How are you now?)
This is also the age when we begin to think about the upcoming retirement. This study is a call to awakening to think deeply about our choice when moving from middle age to the next stage of life. Will this support the meaning of our life goals? In this study, a life goal was defined as "a self-organizing life aimed at stimulating goals." For those of you who, like me, over 51,
Do you have a strong sense of purpose for your life right now?
It is important to think about it. I'm a baby boomer. Now we are from 55 to 75, and we are 76 million. Gen X is right behind us, and they are 40-55. There are 82 million of them.
As we go through a big career push and years of nesting, what's next?
How do you develop a strong sense of purpose in life?
Bestselling author Shannon Kaiser gives some simple tips in an article on the Huffington Post:
1. Get more action.
She notes: “You can’t think of your own path in search of your life’s goal, you must make your way to it … The more we act, the more we clarify the situation. So instead of thinking about it … start trying new things. " I like it! Kaiser began to write. So do I. I love to write for you. This is a creative outlet that I would NEVER predict for myself. I found that writing about dermatology, health and wellness has become a passion for me – it gives me a deep goal.
2. Falling from head to heart.
Here, the Kaiser notes that when you ask yourself what you like, start taking steps to do what you love, you will be inspired and get an idea of what brings you the most joy. Now this is a fun project!
3. To part with "ONE".
Kaiser notes that for each of us there is not ONE thing. Finding this creates a feeling of frustration. She says: "To lead a purposeful life, follow your passions." Pay attention to the words "passion."
I personally have many passions, and I create “meetings” on my calendar to make sure that my passions are a priority throughout the day. For example, I like talking with my patients and practicing dermatology (work), writing (I write best in the morning), gardening (Thursday and Saturday), physical exercises (weekly yoga, Pilates and lap swimming – these are fixed “meetings”) . on my calendar) and time spent with my family, my dog, in nature, with my friends (walking with friends / family / dogs / outdoors along forest trails – these are great multi-tasking “meetings” that are held at least twice in Week). I deliberately appeal to friends and family, and set up our “meetings” in a structured fashion calendar. Tasks and responsibilities for which I do not have “passion” should fit into these “meetings” – hello dishes, gas filling a car, paying bills, etc.
Kaiser's formula for a purposeful life:
Passion + Daily Activities = Purposeful Life
This new study proves that prioritizing your weekly activities, including those that create the goal, is important. As a doctor, I have to articulate this in the context (along with good food, exercise and wearing sunscreen), how you spend your time, strengthening health and longevity.
What new impressions or juicy passion are you putting on your calendar this week? I say, sprinkle them daily and see what it feels like.
And, if following your passion finds that you go outside in the daytime, do not forget about sun protection!
Click here to get my sun protection tips and favorites.
Alimujiang A, Wiensch A, Boss J, et al. The association between life purpose and adult mortality in the US over 50 years old. JAMA Netw Open. 2019; 2 (5): e194270. DOI: 10,1001 / jamanetworkopen.2019.4270
Fredrickson B.L., Grun K.M., Coffey K.A. et al. Functional genomic view of human well-being. Proc Natl Acad Sci U.S. 2013; 110 (3): 13684-13689. doi: 10.1073 / pnas.1305419110PubMedGoogle ScholarCrossref
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