We all want to live longer, and new research has identified one common denominator associated with a longer life—religious affiliation. A study in the journal Social Psychological and Personality Science reviewed the obituaries of more than 1,000 people and found that people with some religious affiliation lived an average of four years longer than those without religious involvement.
Researchers found two reasons that might explain the increase in longevity. People who have religious ties also tend to volunteer and belong to social groups. Many studies have shown that giving back and being socially active are tied to a longer life.
This didn’t surprise me at all. I always tell my tribe that having a purpose in life is one of the keys to mental and physical health. Knowing what your purpose is in this life gives you a reason to make healthy choices. When you know the reasons why you need your brain and body to be operating at optimal capacity, it’s so much easier to stick with a brain healthy plan.
Multiple studies have shown that having a deep sense of meaning and purpose is associated with a longer life. Prayer, meditation, giving back, and having a relationship with God or a “higher power” are all tied to the concept of purpose.
On the flip side, a lack of meaning or purpose in life can lead people to feel alone, depressed, or insignificant. Depression has been tied to a shorter lifespan, according to a 2017 Canadian study.
To help you find your purpose, ask yourself the following three questions:
- What are you willing to suffer for? Write down the three things you believe in so strongly that you would fight for them without concern about criticism or ostracism.
- Meditate or pray daily with intention about your passions or in your quest to discover what it is you are most passionate about.
- Why is the world a better place because I breathe? If you aren’t sure, start journaling your personal skills, interests, and passions and ask yourself what small step you could take today—and every day—to make a difference, to create happiness and healing the world.
You can find five additional steps to help you find your purpose in The Brain Warrior’s Way book.