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Blue Zone Longevity Pillar #2 – Purpose

Longevity Pillar #2

Purpose is the second of the nine pillars for longevity. Why is purpose so important? Research across the board consistently shows a strong association between having a sense of purpose in life and greater longevity. A recent study by the National Institute on Aging and the Social Security Administration questioned 13,159 adults in the U.S. over the age of 50. Participants were asked about their sense of purpose and followed up with 8 years later. Of the 13,159 participants, 24.7%, had died. The analysis revealed that those with the strongest sense of purpose lowered their risk of death by 15.2% compared to people with the least sense of purpose! Here’s some reasons why.
People with a greater sense of purpose engage in more longevity-promoting activities. They are more likely to exercise, seek preventative medical care, and smoke less. People who feel like they are living their purpose report to being happier which results in more longevity-promoting hormones like dopamine, oxytocin, serotonin, and endorphins. People who report a low sense of purpose also report higher levels of chronic stress which, as we’ve discussed in the past, is linked to high blood pressure, clogged arteries, and obesity. People without purpose are more likely to engage in addictive behaviors in an attempt to numb themselves out with excessive pursuits of pleasure when they fail to create a life of meaning. So to keep it simple, purpose leads to a cascade of health and longevity-promoting behaviors and a lack of purpose leads to disease-promoting behaviors. So how do we develop a stronger sense of purpose?
Most of us mistakenly define purpose solely as what we are passionate about. Passion is only one part of the purpose equation. Purpose should start with contribution; it’s a combination of what you love doing, what you do well, what you are passionate about, and most importantly how it impacts others. Purpose inextricably links your contribution with the impact you have on others. Contribution can include anything: your family, your clients, the neighborhood, the economy, the planet.
It’s important to have an underlying purpose to our lives such as leaving every interaction having contributed something positive to the other person or to bring more joy or humor or lightheartedness to every interaction. It’s also important to think about our purpose before we engage in any activity or conversation. For example, if we pause before having a difficult conversation and think about the purpose and intention behind it then what we say and how we say it will naturally be more in line with that purpose. So on a macro level, we may have a purpose of making the world a better place and on a micro level we might have the purpose of creating more open communication or resolving a conflict. The small things build over time into the big things and we live our life’s purpose one interaction or activity at a time.
Every one of us is born with a desire to have an impact outside of ourselves. Clearly seeing the impact we have on others and basing our everyday behavior on it leads to a longer life. Living a purpose-driven life is a practice. It’s something we can get better at over time. The better we become at seeing how what we do impacts others, the more meaning we will find in what we do. Over time we move in the direction of greater and more meaningful contributions, which result in increasingly greater impact, which brings us more fulfillment, leading to less stress hormones, less destructive behaviors, more healthy habits, happy hormones and a longer life.
Here’s some homework for us this week:
  1. List out the things that are important to you and your ultimate purpose in each area. Things like: relationships, career, spirituality, etc.

  2. Score yourself 1-10 on how well you are currently living your purpose in each area.

  3. Write a few things you can do in each category to contribute to living more on purpose.

  4. Do at least one thing to move you closer to your purpose, in at least one area, every day this week.
We appreciate any and all feedback on how we can better serve you. Thank you for the opportunity to help you with your real estate needs and for your continued trust and support! If you have any questions or if we can provide you with any services, please feel free to reach out anytime.
Have a wonderful week full of epic snowpack and sunshine!

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