Finding your purpose: it’s something people of all ages are curious about – and it turns out there’s good reason to be. Finding purpose in life has been attributed to many health and wellbeing benefits, especially in relation to healthy aging and longevity. In fact, researchers have found that having purpose can add up to seven years to your life. If you want to learn about the benefits of finding purpose in life, what this looks like for some of the world's healthiest populations and how you can discover your purpose – keep reading.
The health benefits of finding your “life’s purpose”
Collins dictionary defines purpose as “the thing that you want to achieve”. But, in some cultures, purpose goes well beyond this definition. According to bluezones.com, purpose in Okinawa is known as “ikigai” and in Nicoya it’s referred to as “plan de vida” - both of which essentially translate to “why I wake up in the morning.” According to the research group, having this thing to wake up for in the morning can add up to seven years to your life expectancy. Other studies have also found this – adding that a sense of ikigai appears to support cardiovascular health.
Researchers have investigated so many areas of purpose and health – discovering that, in addition to lifespan – a sense of purpose can support physical function in older adults and promote emotional resilience.
What “purpose” looks like for some of the world’s healthiest populations
So, what does having purpose look like? In their book Ikigai: the Japanese secret to a long and happy life, researchers Héctor García and Francesc Miralles researched Okinawa – where many of the world’s longest-living humans reside - and interviewed locals to find out what drives them to wake up in the morning and how it influences their health and longevity. They discovered that Ikigai, put simply, means giving more time to the things in life that give you joy.
Interviewees typically answered that friends and family played a crucial role in their ikigai, saying: “spending time together and having fun is the only thing that matters”, “my main hobby is getting together with friends and neighbors”, “chatting and drinking tea with my neighbors. That’s the best thing in life. And singing together”. Others said their ikigai involved arts and crafts, living peacefully, maintaining a positive mindset and volunteering.
How do you really find your purpose?
Your purpose in life likely isn’t limited to one specific target. If researchers are correct, there are multiple layers to living a full and happy life that makes you want to wake up each morning. Based on their findings in Okinawa, García and Miralles say the following steps should help you find your “ikigai”:
- Stay active
- Take it slow
- Don’t fill your stomach
- Surround yourself with good friends
- Get in shape
- Connect with nature
- Be thankful
- Live in the moment
- Figure out what gives your days meaning – and do more of it
We’re big believers that having the energy to do more of what’s meaningful to you starts with having healthy cells. Find out how MitoQ could help.
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