The Purposeful Life (Hint: Don’t Wait for Retirement)

The Huffington Post:

I have several close friends who are contemplating retirement, and a few have been teetering on that decision for a while. They are not hesitating over financial worries, but more over quality of life issues. They want to be sure that the next stage of life is at least as rich and purposeful as their working years have been. They want their days to be full.

Who doesn’t? But there are other reasons for planning a meaningful retirement, most notably the health benefits. Our later years bring added health risks, but accumulating evidence shows that older people with goals and a clear sense of purpose live longer.

But why focus on just the old? If meaning is linked so clearly to diminished mortality, isn’t it possible — even likely — that younger people will also benefit from a clear sense of purpose? That is the question that psychological scientists Patrick Hill of Carleton University and Nicholas Turiano of the University of Rochester have turned to recently. It may be more challenging to find purpose and structure in a life without work, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that purpose is only beneficial to the elderly and retired. Perhaps a sense of purpose will convey longevity benefits for even the youngest adults.

Read the whole story: The Huffington Post

Wray Herbert is an author and award-winning journalist who writes two popular blogs for APS, We’re Only Human and Full Frontal Psychology. Follow Wray on Twitter @wrayherbert.

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