A Life of Purpose Increases Longevity

A Life of Purpose Increases Longevity

© GLOW IMAGES Model used for illustrative purposes

by Don Ingwerson

I recently returned to my rural childhood home, where I hadn’t been for decades. I found I still had vivid memories of past events, even though buildings had decayed and schools were closed. I had a chance to catch up with those I hadn’t seen since I was a teenager: What were they doing with their lives? Were they fulfilling their dreams and achieving the purposes they had outlined years ago? How did they see themselves?

Each had a unique story – family, profession, children, marriage, all told with a sense of pride. No one mentioned age, only what seeds they had sown in life and how those seeds had grown and blossomed. Catching up with my friends, I found myself wondering how they could have achieved their goals there in that small town.

But what I realized is that people are unique in what drives them. And apparently researchers and psychologists agree: “What your purpose is does not matter, just to feel there is one could be enough.” Their conclusions from a 14-year study involving 6,000 people substantiate what you probably suspected all along: health and longevity correlate with keeping busy and living a life of purpose.

The important thing is, these research findings aren’t really new to most people. I find that Mary Baker Eddy, a 19th-century health researcher who was also a proponent of purpose in life, takes this line of thinking even further: “The purpose and motive to live aright can be gained now. This point won, you have started as you should.” Her idea of purpose tied health directly to a spiritual relation to God. “To live aright” suggests having a life purpose that has a spiritual component, and she proved that it leads to health, as researchers today are finding. One researcher indicated, “There’s something unique about finding a purpose that seems to be leading to greater [health and] longevity.”

There is a broad pathway for health and longevity through keeping busy and having a meaningful purpose in life. And an important, added benefit to a life of purpose is that quality of life also increases. It is never too late to find your purpose in life. It doesn’t matter where you live. Living with meaningful purpose, many have gained direction, greater happiness, and increased longevity. You can, too.

Article first published in Blogcritics.

About the author

Don Ingwerson Don regularly blogs on health and spirituality and lives in Laguna Beach with his wife - both Christian Science practitioners. He brings his years serving the public in education to his work as a liaison of Christian Science, where he maintains contacts with the media and legislative offices.


  1. says

    That’s exactly right, Don, having purpose in life does so much for health and longevity. There are so many good examples, too. No one need feel left out of this. Actually, we all have that fundamental purpose to express the divine in everything we do, and that never leaves us wanting.

  2. Belle says

    Thanks! I like the idea that we have our own unique purposes to fulfill which do not need to be grand and great in the eyes of others, but nevertheless give us the incentive we need.

  3. Chuck says

    Really important point, Don. Keeping busy, having a purpose in life, enjoying a clear sense of God’s great love for each of us, and understanding our spiritual identity sounds like a key to happiness and a worthwhile life.

  4. Rhonda Turvey says

    Thanks for the helpful blog and comments. I love where Mrs. Eddy writes to members of her church in her Prose Works in response to
    the inquiry ” What am I? She urges us to respond “I am able to impart truth, health and happiness, and this is my rock of salvation and my reason for existing.” Always helps to remind me of my purpose and sets my priorities straight! (=

  5. Pamela says

    Thanks Don, for this reminder of the importance of having purpose in our lives. It is important to me to keep my thoughts and actions in keeping with what early researcher, Mary Baker Eddy says in her book Miscellaneous Writings. She talks of the importance of keeping our thoughts pure and good in our human affairs for this brings success. Here is what she says, “By purifying human thought, this state of mind permeates with increased harmony all the minutiae of human affairs. It brings with it wonderful foresight, wisdom, and power; it unselfs the mortal purpose, gives steadiness to resolve, and success to endeavor.” (Mis 204:23-27)

    I have found in my experience that statement to be correct for when my thoughts and motives are pure my health and endeavors are more successful. That kind of success is encouraging and life changing.

  6. Anne Hughes says

    The Newsong Group have a wonderful CD of inspiring hymns and original songs. My very favorite says, “The thought of self flew out the door; there entered in its place a freedom never known before, and peace and love and grace.” This has become the latest purpose in my life, uncovering selfish thoughts and sending them out the door!
    I think a life of purpose can grow and evolve, and the freedom this current purpose is giving me has brought me great joy. Thanks for the post.

  7. says

    A big thank you to each of you for your comments and constant support of this blog. Your comments and sharing of these article bring more readers to the site. I appreciate you.