What is the Meaning of This? (The Uplifting Benefits of a Meaning Filled Life)
Did you know that people with a purpose live longer?
by Successful Aging in Action! | 12.24.19
By: Neal Miller
Viktor Frankl believed without meaning and purpose, life would cease to exist. Fast forward a few years, research would back Frankl’s belief. Spirituality is a broad topic with definitions that vary depending on who you ask. Regardless of the variability, we know two things are certain about spirituality: First, it’s an important part of our everyday lives and overall health. Second, it’s unique to the individual.
Research investigating the traits of the world’s longest lived people supports the importance spirituality plays in a person’s life. Researchers have discovered nine traits consistent of the world’s oldest and highest functioning people. Three of them deal specifically with spirituality.
The first is having purpose in life. The world’s longest lived people all cited having a reason for getting up in the morning. The research suggests that knowing your sense of purpose and acting on it is worth up to seven years of extra life expectancy.
The second trait deals with stress management. Research suggests that elevated levels of stress has been associated with every major age-related disease. The world’s longest-lived people practice daily routines to combat stress. Maybe it’s prayer or meditation, physical activity, or even happy hour... Regardless, the point is to find something you enjoy and helps you shed the stress of daily life.
The third spiritual trait of the world’s longest lived people is to simply belong to a faith-based community. It doesn’t even matter what the belief is. The researchers found of all the centenarians they interviewed, 98% belonged to some kind of faith-based community. The research has shown that attending faith-based services four times per month can add 4-14 years of life expectancy.
Research in spirituality is solid and overwhelmingly encourages us to practice spiritual habits so we may reap the short and long term rewards. How might you integrate new spiritual practices into your daily life, and how might you support others in their own unique spiritual journey? Today is a great day to begin.
*Originally published in the Masterpiece Living March/April 2015 Mosaic.
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