Meaning And Purpose Improve Health

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Icone02Steven Cole et al. from UCLA have recently shown that having a deep sense of purpose and meaning in life can lead to positive genetic changes such as lowering the levels of inflammatory gene expression and strengthening the expression of antiviral and antibody genes. Theoretically, this could mean that those with a strong sense of purpose and meaning have a more efficient immune system and are less susceptible to inflammatory diseases.

Parallels can be drawn with Viktor Frankl’s influential book ‘Man’s Search For Meaning‘. In it, he relates his experiences of life in concentration camps during WWII. He believed that finding a meaning to life was crucial to survival in those terrible circumstances. After the war, he continued his work as a psychiatrist with logotherapy (a form of existential analysis) and became convinced that happiness was to be attained by finding meaning and purpose in life.