Purpose And Meaning Improves Cognition and Longevity

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Those with a greater sense of purpose and meaning have a decreased risk of dementia and mortality.

To demonstrate this fact, a study from 2010 on 951 community-dwelling older persons showed that those with a greater reported sense of purpose were 2.4 times less likely to be diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease than those with a lower reported sense of purpose (1). Further, a 2014 study of 6,000 individuals and spanning over 14 years showed that a greater sense of purpose decreased the chance of dying of any cause by 15%, regardless of age (2).

How can we live with purpose, add meaning to our lives and those around us, and be true to ourselves? By recognizing positive events, feeling gratitude, and choosing to benefit others we can achieve these desires.

Having Purpose And Meaning

Having a purpose does not mean knowing the reason you’re here. It means knowing with certainty that you are here for a reason.  This reason can be as simple as smiling at a stranger or showing kindness. Knowing that every human can contribute positivity to the world at each moment can help us find purpose.

Purpose and meaning in life have been shown to have a variety of benefits for both mental and physical health. In terms of cognition, having a sense of purpose has been linked to improved memory, increased ability to focus and concentrate, and better problem-solving skills.

In addition to these cognitive benefits, research has also shown that having a sense of purpose and meaning in life is associated with increased longevity. One study found that individuals with a strong sense of purpose were more likely to live longer, have a lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease, and have a higher quality of life in their later years.

So why does having purpose and meaning lead to these benefits? It is thought that having a sense of purpose gives people a sense of direction and motivation, leading them to make healthier choices and engage in activities that promote physical and mental well-being. It can also provide a sense of social connectedness and engagement, which can have positive effects on mental health.

While it is important to find purpose and meaning at any age, it is especially important for older adults, who may be facing challenges such as retirement, loss of loved ones, and declining health. Engaging in activities that give life meaning and purpose can help older adults maintain a sense of purpose and vitality as they age.

In conclusion, having purpose and meaning in life has a number of benefits for cognition and longevity. It is important for individuals of all ages to take the time to identify what gives their life meaning and to engage in activities that align with their values and goals.


Cognition refers to the mental processes that allow us to acquire, process, store, and use information. It includes a range of abilities such as attention, memory, problem-solving, and decision-making. Maintaining and improving cognition is important at any age, as it can have a significant impact on daily life and overall well-being.

Research has shown that there are a number of factors that can affect cognition and longevity. These include genetics, lifestyle factors such as diet and exercise, and social and environmental factors.

One way to support cognition and longevity is through engaging in activities that challenge the brain. This can include activities such as reading, puzzles and brainteasers, and learning a new skill. Exercise has also been shown to have a positive effect on cognition, as it can increase blood flow to the brain and stimulate the growth of new brain cells.

In addition to these specific strategies, maintaining a healthy lifestyle overall can support cognition and longevity. This includes getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet, and managing stress.

While we can’t control all factors that affect cognition and longevity, by taking steps to support our brain health, we can increase our chances of maintaining cognitive function and living a longer, healthier life.


  1. https://jamanetwork.com/journals/jamapsychiatry/fullarticle/210648
  2. https://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0956797614531799
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