Did you realize that, even more powerfully than love, finding one’s purpose in life can give meaning?  Having purpose makes one feel that there is a reason to exist; it makes living matter.  It makes one feel that their presence on earth is worthwhile. For instance... whether the purpose is short term, like wanting to see a grandchild’s ballet recital, or longer term, like wanting to be present for a grandchild’s college graduation, or even more purposeful, like wanting to create a product or service to help others...  having purpose and meaning gives one a reason to keep standing up... to keep going and resisting the challenges in daily life.

Holocaust survivor Viktor Frankl made this realization by observing and working with other survivors while living in a concentration camp during World War II.  In this experience, he was able to help others in concentration camp work through their suffering and stay alive by ‘finding meaning... by finding something to live for.’   There is much suffering on this earth, but that does not mean that those experiencing the suffering lead useless lives.  To the contrary, Dr. Frankl believed that it was possible to “find meaning,” even while suffering.  He believed that there was meaning in life, no matter how horrific the circumstances may be.  He believed that: “Life offers purpose and meaning but does not promise fulfillment or happiness.”

As a result, Austrian neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Viktor Frankl wrote the world’s best-selling book, titled, “Man’s Search for Meaning,” and he created a new area of psychotherapy called “logotherapy” to help clients find meaning in their suffering and their lives.  To learn more about Dr. Frankl, please refer to the sources below.

Today, research is proving that those who feel that their lives have higher purpose and meaning appear to live longer and healthier than those without purpose.  Not only that, but they also appear to take better care.  To learn more about these studies, please refer to the source section below.

Given the incredible evidence of a positive correlation between higher purpose/meaning and living longer and healthier, the possibility of creating a new alternative health area that focuses on helping individuals/patients discover their own purpose and meaning in life was discussed at the 2019 annual alternative medicine conference: The Academy of Integrative Health and Medicine (AIHM).  Stay tuned for this exciting new development...



The Pursuit of Happiness 

Brain Pickins: Viktor Frankl on the Human Search for Meaning

Very-Well-Mind: An Overview of Viktor Frankl’s Logotherapy

Purpose in life and use of preventive health care services

Purpose in life is associated with physical activity measured by accelerometer 

How a Sense of Purpose in Life Improves Your Health 

Having a Sense of Purpose May Add Years to Your Life

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  • maggie Wright
    published this page in Living Medicine 2019-12-01 00:29:49 -0700