A new study published in the journal Psychological Science shows that people who have set goals for themselves tend to live for longer period of time. The researchers found out that if you have a particular aim in your life, and set you path accordingly to achieve it you increase your chances of ageing healthily. Dr. Patrick Hill who is an Assistant Professor at the University of Carleton on Canada said that “Our findings point to the fact that finding a direction for life, and setting overarching goals for what you want to achieve can help you actually live longer, regardless of when you find your purpose.”
In the recent years there have been some studies in this area which give same the indication that having a target in mind and dedication to achieve it is one of the causes of longevity in people. However, this study does not take account social and psychological factors and the effects it has on overall life of a person. But this study is the first to comprise of younger groups of people. This research is also the first one that establishes the connection of lifespan and sense of purpose without taking into account factors like social integration, welfare and work status. The lead researcher Dr. Hill says that “the earlier someone comes to a direction for life, the earlier these protective effects may be able to occur.”
The study was conducted based on data collected from 6,000 people who ranged from 20 to 75 years, over the span of 14 years. Questionnaires were given to the participants which consisted of three statements, ‘I sometimes feel as if I’ve done all there is to do in life’; ‘I live life one day at a time and don’t really think about the future’ and ‘Some people wander aimlessly through life, but I am not one of them’. The participants of the study were scored accordingly to what they had selected.
After 14 years, 569 (about 9%) out of the 6,000 people in the study had passed away. The people who were alive reportedly had a higher score than those who had died. The study also found that mortality rate in older men was greater than that of younger men; it was believed by the researchers that older men lost the ‘sense of direction’ when they retired from work.
However, it is still unclear as to what level of purposefulness is required for increased life expectancy, whether it is a simple goal or hard to achieve one. But one this is sure that an increased level of sense of aim will help in increasing your longevity.