Knowing what you want in life may increase your lifespan

If you are one of the people who have a high sense of purpose in life, you may live longer, claims a new study.

ANI| Last Updated: Mar 07, 2015, 10:20 AM IST

Washington: If you are one of the people who have a high sense of purpose in life, you may live longer, claims a new study.

Having a high sense of purpose in life may lower your risk of death, heart disease and stroke, according to a new study led by researchers at Mount Sinai St. Luke's and Mount Sinai Roosevelt.

The new analysis defined purpose in life as a sense of meaning and direction, and a feeling that life is worth living. Previous research has linked purpose to psychological health and well-being, but the new Mount Sinai analysis found that a high sense of purpose is associated with a 23 percent reduction in death from all causes and a 19 percent reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, or the need for coronary artery bypass surgery (CABG) or a cardiac stenting procedure.

Lead study author Randy Cohen, MD, said that their study shows there was a strong relationship between having a sense of purpose in life and protection from dying or having a cardiovascular event.

The research team reviewed 10 relevant studies with the data of more than 137,000 people to analyse the impact of sense of purpose on death rates and risk of cardiovascular events. The meta-analysis also found that those with a low sense of purpose are more likely to die or experience cardiovascular events.

Study's co-author Alan Rozanski, MD, added that prior studies had linked a variety of psychosocial risk factors to heart disease, including negative factors such as anxiety and depression and positive factors such as optimism and social support. Based on the findings, future research should now further assess the importance of life purpose as a determinant of health and well-being and assess the impact of strategies designed to improve individuals' sense of life purpose.

The study was presented at the American Heart Association's EPI/ Lifestyle 2015 Scientific Sessions in Baltimore.