You can easily find a number of books and guides for finding or creating the “purpose” and “meaning” of your life. But could it affect your physical health — for better or worse?
A new study says yes. I’ve found that if you experience meaning and purpose in your life, you are more likely to be physically healthy as well mentally. “We found that the presence of meaning is associated with better physical performance and better mental performance,” said study senior author Dr. Dilip Geist. Furthermore, “finding meaning in one’s life can help people stay healthy in later years.”
However, research has also found that if you are constantly searching and struggling to find a goal, it can have a negative impact on your physical health. Furthermore, useless research also negatively impacts your relationships, cognitive performance, and overall mental health. In short, if you don’t have a purpose in life and you search for it in vain, you will feel more stressed, according to researchers.
Related Topics: How to Answer Your Call and Find Your Life Purpose
These findings add to the growing awareness that all dimensions of ourselves – we are organic beings, after all – are intertwined. They all affect each other, and are affected by the world we live in as well. So let’s reveal what the mixed evidence from this research means. It was conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Diego, involved more than 1,000 adults aged 21 to over 100, and is described here.
From the data, the researchers suggest that the transition occurs over time from “the usual doubts and turmoil of youth…a period of intense anxiety. You search desperately for meaning, but you don’t find it,” Jesty puts it. Then, the researchers assert, things change as you get older, as life moves toward a finite end, and you begin to think about what you should do with your remaining life; What is more meaning.
In my opinion, this interpretation is very linear. It reflects an earlier, more predictable era of life and society. It doesn’t quite match the life experiences of one’s decades in our current, more fluid and changing world.
It would be more accurate to seek to understand what the transformations that occur over time mean – what they trigger in your inner life. The latter is the source of what can become a lasting sense of meaning and purpose – if you tune in to it and pay attention to what it tells you throughout your life’s journey.
But our society and culture often prevent that awakening. It does so by defining the most valuable and meaningful life you aim for as a good career, a lasting relationship, friends, money, and whatever it buys for you. There is no doubt that this stuff is very fun and rewarding – that is, as far as it gets. We live in a physical world, after all, so you might think “meaning” and “purpose” are equivalent to whatever you gain. Until life tells you they are not.
This can happen because the physical world is the outside world. There, money, location, and recognition cannot generate a sense of purpose or a meaningful life because they can be disrupted by unexpected change, loss, or disappointment. They may fade, take on different shapes, or disintegrate completely – perhaps unexpectedly.
Constant constancy is a fact of life. It can disrupt your outer world and get directly into you – your inner life. This may then lead you to wonder why you live, what you live for, and why it matters. If you are not interested in your inner life, the consequences of that awakening can range from mild to severe.