New Study Shows Huge Importance of Finding Meaning in Life
As the core drivers of meaning in life have eroded in recent decades, a recent study from the University of California San Diego School of Medicine found that the presence of and search for meaning in life are hugely important for health and well-being.
“Many think about the meaning and purpose in life from a philosophical perspective, but meaning in life is associated with better health, wellness and perhaps longevity,” said senior author Dilip V. Jeste, MD.
“Those with meaning in life are happier and healthier than those without it,” he added.
The results of the study also showed that the presence of meaning in life exhibited an inverted U-shaped relationship, while the search for meaning in life showed a U-shaped relationship with age.
“When you are young, like in your twenties, you are unsure about your career, a life partner and who you are as a person. You are searching for meaning in life,” said Jeste.
The three-year, cross-sectional study examined data from 1,042 adults, ages 21 to 100-plus.
“The medical field is beginning to recognize that meaning in life is a clinically relevant and potentially modifiable factor, which can be targeted to enhance the well-being and functioning of patients,” said Awais Aftab, MD, first author of the paper.
“We anticipate that our findings will serve as building blocks for the development of new interventions for patients searching for purpose,” he added.
Jeste said next research steps include looking at other areas, such as wisdom, loneliness and compassion, and how these impact meaning in life.
“We also want to examine if some biomarkers of stress and aging are associated with searching and finding the meaning in life.
“It’s an exciting time in this field as we are seeking to discover evidence-based answers to some of life’s most profound questions.”
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