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‘Purpose in life’ lowers mortality, heart risk


Washington: A new study has linked “purpose in life” to lower mortality and cardiovascular risk.

People who have a higher sense of purpose in life are at lower risk of death and cardiovascular disease, according to the pooled data analysis.

The study showed that possessing a high sense of purpose in life is associated with a reduced risk for mortality and cardiovascular events. While the mechanisms behind the association remain unclear, the findings suggest that approaches to strengthening a sense of purpose might lead to improved health outcomes.

Using a technique called meta-analysis, the researchers pooled data from previous studies evaluating the relationship between purpose in life and the risk of death or cardiovascular disease. The analysis included data on more than 136,000 participants from ten studies, mainly from the United States or Japan. The US studies evaluated a sense of purpose or meaning in life or “usefulness to others.” The Japanese studies assessed the concept of ikigai, translated as “a life worth living.”

There is a well-documented link between “negative psychosocial risk factors” and adverse health outcomes, including heart attack, stroke, and overall mortality. “Conversely, more recent study provides evidence that positive psychosocial factors can promote healthy physiological functioning and greater longevity,” according to the authors.

Researcher Alan Rozanski noted that the medical implications of living with a high or low sense of life purpose have only recently caught the attention of investigators. The current findings are important because they may open up new potential interventions for helping people to promote their health and sense of well-being.

The study is published in Psychosomatic Medicine: Journal of Biobehavioral Medicine. (ANI)

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