How Finding Your Purpose Could Protect Your Brain
As we reach 60s, baby boomers are starting to reevaluate our place in the world. This is only natural. After decades of looking after other people, many of us finally have an opportunity to take a step back and ask the “big questions.” It’s not that we are less busy. If anything, baby boomers are ramping up, not winding down. At the same time, as we get a little older, our focus is shifting.
Surviving is not enough. We want our lives to matter. Just like we did as teenagers, we are once again asking, “What’s my purpose in life?”
Finding Your Purpose Could Protect Your Brain
If our search for meaning leads us to peace and fulfillment after 60, it would already be a worthwhile quest. As Bo Bennett said, “Those who improve with age embrace the power of personal growth and personal achievement and begin to replace youth with wisdom, innocence with understanding, and lack of purpose with self-actualization.”
As it turns out, there may be more practical reasons to search for meaning after 60. According to researchers at the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Center in Chicago, having a sense of purpose could actually protect your brain as you age.
The study, which was based on autopsies of 453 seniors, found that people with a strong sense of purpose were 44% less likely to have suffered brain tissue damage during their lives.
Even after controlling for other factors such as blood pressure and physical activity, during the patients’ lives, the results were still found to be valid.
What is the Meaning of Your Life?
Life after 60 presents so many important choices. Will you invest in your body and get in the best shape of your life? Or will you become increasingly sedentary? Will you search for your purpose in life? Or, will you be like a small boat on a large and terrible ocean, battered by the winds of fate?
We cannot hope to answer the question, “What is the meaning of life?” The only question that we can answer is “What is the meaning of my life?” You may never find the complete answer to this question, but, the journey will teach you more about yourself than you can imagine. Along the way, the search for the secrets of your mind may also protect your brain.
How would you describe your purpose in life? Or, do you perhaps have more than one mission that gives your life meaning? Please join the conversation.