Discovering the Meaning of Life is the Secret of Well-Being and Longevity
What is the meaning of life? It is not easy to answer this question but according to a new study published in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, health and well-being are strongly influenced. That is to say that the people who discovered it live better.
This was stated by the senior author of the research, Dilip V. Jeste, senior associate of the Center of Healthy Aging, according to which identifying one’s purpose contributes to improving health, well-being and perhaps even longevity, making us less stressed and happier:
“Those who have meaning in life are happier and healthier than those without it.”
To this result, the researchers came after examining the data of 1,042 adults, aged between 21 and 100 years, who were part of the Successful Aging Assessment (SAGE). Participants were interviewed and subjected to a questionnaire on the meaning of life which allowed scholars to understand how clinically relevant this factor is to improve patient well-being:
“The medical field is beginning to recognize that meaning in life is a clinically relevant and potentially modifiable factor, which can be aimed at improving the well-being and functioning of patients. We expect that our results will serve as building blocks for the development of new interventions for patients seeking a purpose. “
However, things change according to age because young people, around 20 years of age, often have not yet understood what their purpose is, while from 30 to 50 years of age research decreases and the discovery of its meaning increases.
Things still change after the 60s, when people withdrawing from the world of work, are subject to a profound change of life that leads them to seek a new purpose, no longer corresponding to the previous one:
” When you are young, like in your early twenties, you are unsure of your career, a life partner and who you are as a person.” You are looking for meaning in life. As you begin to enter your thirties, forties, and fifties, you have more consolidated relationships, perhaps you are married and have a family and have moved into a career. Research decreases and increases meaning in life. After 60, things start to change. People retire from work and start losing their identity. They begin to develop health problems and some of their friends and family members begin to die. They start looking for meaning in life because the meaning they once had has changed. “
So each age has a different meaning.
And now the study continues with the intention of investigating new areas, from wisdom to compassion, to loneliness, to understand how they affect the meaning of life.
The research is interesting because it shows that well-being is not only a matter of physical health but depends on existential issues often considered superfluous, secondary, and therefore underestimated. Being in shape is important but, the researchers point out, evidently, it is not enough to feel really good and therefore wants to live.