The winter season and the be-ginning of a new year is often a period of reflection for many. It’s an ideal time to take a step back and evaluate your goals, choices, priorities, career, and relationships to determine whether you are truly happy with the life you are living. By focusing on what needs improvement and reprioritization, you can ensure 2016 is both meaningful and aligns with your passions and purpose. This is critically important given the numerous studies that have shown the health and well-being benefits of discovering and living with a sense of purpose. In fact, a 2013 study titled Purpose In Life And Reduced Stroke In Older Adults, led by Dr. Eric Kim, Ph.D., research fellow at the Harvard School of Public Health, found that those living with purpose lived healthier, longer lives.
“Scientific data has shown that a greater sense of purpose and meaning is associated with long-term health benefits, including an increase in longevity and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s, heart attacks, and strokes,” said Dr. Kim. Whether it’s spending more quality time with your loved ones, finding a sense of community with new friends, helping those in need or further developing your hidden talent, it’s important to live the life that makes you smile, laugh, and be optimistic for the future. There are great benefits to finding your purpose and doing more of what makes you happy.
“Research has also shown that having strong social connections, volunteering, and thinking in an optimistic manner are also associated with better health outcomes,” Dr. Kim adds from his recent Harvard study, Changes in Optimism Are Associated With Changes in Health Over Time Among Older Adults. “When you’re optimistic, you have a better sense of your goals and have a healthier lifestyle, including the type of food you eat and the amount of exercise you engage in.”