One analysis of over 130,000 participants over 10 studies found: “The analysis showed a lower risk of death for participants with a high sense of purpose in life. After adjusting for other factors, mortality was about one-fifth lower for participants reporting a strong sense of purpose, or ikigai. A high sense of purpose in life was also related to a lower risk of cardiovascular events. Both associations remained significant on analysis of various subgroups, including country, how purpose in life was measured, and whether the studies included participants with pre-existing cardiovascular disease.” “’Purpose in life’ linked to lower mortality and cardiovascular risk.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 4 Dec. 2015, www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/303569.php, retrieved 2017-10-19.
So what ikigai? Its a Japanese saying for a life worth living or a reason for being. Life purpose can also be described as being useful to someone else. We talk about volunteering and how that has been shown to increase your life expectancy by up to 7 years in our Optimal Health course, which I’m sure you’ve taken by now, so I won’t belabor the point.
Life purpose can even help improve the quality of sleep and is being research as a drug free way to help with sleep issues. Prof. Jason Ong, Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine stated, “Helping people cultivate a purpose in life could be an effective drug-free strategy to improve sleep quality, particularly for a population that is facing more insomnia. Purpose in life is something that can be cultivated and enhanced through mindfulness therapies.” “’Purpose in life’ linked to lower mortality and cardiovascular risk.” Medical News Today, MediLexicon International, 4 Dec. 2015, www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/303569.php.
So how do you find your life purpose? It starts with discovering more about yourself and what you enjoy. What motivates you? What brings you joy? And if you want to go even deeper, you can use your life purpose as a career.