Continuing from yesterday’s blog post about healthy living and having friends to help you live a health life, today we’ll talk about having a purpose in life. This is also important to health as we get older; it’s a key to aging successfully. A sense of purpose for many is more important than making money, and it’s associated with a wide range of better health outcomes, including reduced risk of mortality, stroke, heart attack, and Alzheimer’s disease.
People with a sense of purpose get better sleep, have fewer nights of hospital admission, and go to the doctor less often. They’re also more likely to take care of their health by eating healthier, exercising more, avoiding drugs and alcohol, and seeking out better preventive health choices.
Evidence also shows that optimism about aging has an impact on our health, adding more than seven years to our life expectancy. Those with an upbeat view of aging are more likely to fully recover from a severe disability, have a larger part of the brain that affects memory, show less anatomical evidence of Alzheimer’s on an MRI, and have up to an 80% lower risk of a cardiovascular event.
Changes in lifestyle and medical advances can increase our life span and shrink the number of years spent with a disability. But it’s also vital that we have something to get us up in the morning and someone to share our lives with—and that we approach each day with a smile.
So now we’re back to having friends and employing a happiness officer to help you (and, in turn, them too!) get through the day. Do you have someone you can call any time to chat, meet for coffee, solve the world’s problems, discuss health issues?
I’m facing a health issue right now and my friends are very supportive. I’m also getting good vibes from coworkers, which is a first for me. I didn’t have that support at my last job, and I truly believe I’m no longer in that toxic situation for a reason.