Beliefnet
Doing Life Together

ID-100424164Jared does not live a purpose driven life. He regularly complains that life is meaningless. He doesn’t see how anything he does makes a difference and wonders why he even exists. “It all seems to random, so hopeless. I could die tomorrow. Would my life make a difference?”

Jared has no belief system to give direction to his life. This lack of a belief system could impact his health.

When the book, The Purpose Driven Life, was released by Pastor Rick Warren 10 years ago, it struck a chord with millions of people. The books remains popular for many reasons. It has a simple but powerful message-every person has dignity. Every life is created with purpose. According to Warren, what you believe has everything to do with finding that purposeful life.

Now science provides additional information regarding the importance of having purpose.  A five-year study involving 1200 elderly people  was recently published in Psychosomatic Medicine. Results indicate that those with high purpose in life lived longer than those without purpose.

Purpose was defined as “the tendency to derive meaning from life’s experiences and be focused and intentional.” It is tied to successful aging and is a contributor to health. For example, cardiovascular health has been associated with purpose, as well as other factors related to resiliency. Having a sense of purpose may lower stress hormones and fight against other negative biological processes.

In addition, purpose is associated with a positive outlook on life and improves self-esteem. People tend to be happy and more satisfied with life. This translates to better health.

The prophet Jeremiah reminds us in 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” The verse speaks to a plan, a hope, a future–a belief that gives each person value and purpose. Believe it and it may lengthen your life!

 

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