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jeudi 17 août 2017

Purpose in Life and HEALTH

I remember the Nobel Prize winner British writer, VS Naipaul saying: when you do not have a project in life, it tends to become boring.
I have a chance to counsel people, who are my patients, about purpose in life as they are contemplating retirement. Have something planned to do, even if it is a hobby or learning a language or spending time with your family, but not wake up every day wondering what you will do that day.
I also teach them about Mindfulness, to enjoy the moment.
Just yesterday, three of us were planning to form a consulting group so that we will be able to spread our culturally oriented philosophy of health care among Native Indians. We know that this project will take a little time to come to fruition but the three of us felt good just thinking about it. Of course each of us have some work cut out to do, more for me as I have much more free time during my travels and access to Internet.
As if to support the theme, this morning, this arrives in the email:

People with “purpose in life” may age better, study suggests

TIME (8/16, MacMillan) reports people who have “a purpose in life” may age better than those who do not, according to a study published in JAMA Psychiatry. Researchers found that people “who reported having goals and a sense of meaning were less likely to have weak grip strength and slow walking speeds,” which are both “signs of declining physical ability and risk factors for disability.”
        Medscape (8/16, Harrison) reports that Carol Ryff, PhD, of the University of Wisconsin, wrote an accompanying editorial, which concluded, “Leading a life of purpose not only feels good and meaningful, existentially speaking, it may also be an area of rich potential in which intervention studies and public health education programs might contribute to improved health of our ever-growing aged population.”
While the study was conducted to see whether physical conditions improved, I believe that having a project, always, whether you are young or old, gives your mind and intellect a boost and a sense of well being.
August 16, 2017

Association Between Purpose in Life and Objective Measures of Physical Function in Older Adults

JAMA Psychiatry. Published online August 16, 2017. doi:10.1001/jamapsychiatry.2017.2145
Key Points
Question  Is higher purpose in life associated with lower likelihood of objectively measured declines in physical function?
Findings  In a longitudinal cohort study of adults older than 50 years who were adequately functioning at baseline, each 1-SD increase in purpose in life was associated with a 13% decreased risk of developing weak grip strength and 14% decreased risk of developing slow walking speeds 4 years later.
Meaning  A sense of purpose in life, a modifiable factor, may play an important role in maintaining physical function among older adults.