Can Having a Sense of Purpose Provide Physical Benefits?

Having a sense of purpose in life may lower your health risks and help you live longer, according to a study led by researchers at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai Roosevelt.

The analysis defined purpose in life as a sense of meaning and direction and a feeling that life is worth living. Previous research has linked purpose to psychological health and well-being, but the Mount Sinai analysis found that a strong sense of purpose is associated with a 23 percent reduction in death from all causes and a 19 percent reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, or the need for coronary artery bypass surgery or a cardiac stenting procedure.

“As part of our overall health, each of us needs to ask ourselves the critical question of ‘do I have a sense of purpose in my life?’” said lead study author Randy Cohen, MD, a preventive cardiologist at Mount Sinai St. Luke’s and Mount Sinai Roosevelt. “If not, you need to work toward the important goal of obtaining one for your overall well-being.”

This article was adapted from information provided by Mount Sinai Medical Center.

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