Today’s Solutions: November 29, 2021

The meaning of life is a question that has plagued philosophers for millennia, and there is no single correct answer. But increasingly, scientists are finding that having a sense of purpose, whatever yours may be, is key to well-being. A new study of over-50s shows picking up a part-time job or volunteering for a charity could do more than keep you entertained in retirement. In fact, having a purpose in life could actually help you live longer. The study which was conducted by a group of researchers at the University of Michigan analyzed data from nearly 7,000 people older than 50 who were enrolled in a national study and who filled out a psychological questionnaire.

The original research measured participants’ psychological well-being in 2006, their physical health and, subsequently, causes of death by 2010. The new analysis found that those whose psychological questionnaires reflected a lack of purpose were more likely to die than those who had “a self-organizing life aim that stimulates goals”. The research also indicated that having any kind of purpose is better than having none at all and that it doesn’t matter what it is that drives an individual, whether it’s a passion for music, or wanting to see their children develop, or loving the work they do. The important thing is simply having something that makes them excited about life and drives them.

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