Recently published research showed that those with a greater purpose in life have better mental cognitive resilience in middle and old age. My Mind News investigates.
Psychological factors and wellbeing
Those with higher psychological wellbeing are known to live longer, happier, and healthier lives. However, there has been little research into the importance of psychological wellbeing and its factors on brain health.
Still, there is much anectodical evidence that psychological wellbeing plays a mental and physical role in mental cognitive resilience.
Cognitive resilience refers to the brain’s ability to manage and cope with injury, stresses, and other elements that may cause the brain to become impaired. Psychological factors are increasingly recognised as cognitive ability, brain health, and wellbeing indicators.
One of the critical pillars of wellbeing is having a purpose in life (PiL). Having a strong PiL is significant as it provides the well and way to carry on even when life circumstances are adverse. Previous research has shown that a PiL limits change to cognitive effects.
The Study background and findings
Researchers from the Institute of Neurosciences, University of Barcelona, undertook this study with 624 participants recruited from the Barcelona Brain Health Initiative cohort. The participants had a mean age of 53 and were split equally between genders.
All participants completed a PiL questionnaire and underwent various tests that looked at their brains to assess and review brain circuits and connectivity when they were active and resting.
The study found that those with higher PiL had greater inter-network connectivity in the frontal cortex, hippocampus formation, and the midcingulate region of the brain, and there was a positive correlation with cognitive performance.
Thus, suggests that those individuals with higher rates of PiL have a better cognitive function as the various interacting brain regions were more active even in the deepest part of their brain in their middle age.
Why are these findings significant?
When individuals have a higher PiL, research shows that this helps the brain and its inner workings to be more active, and have more resilience and cognitive performance. Researchers can now identify the changes and track these.
Although brain activity can be observed, it is still unknown to scientists how the underlying signals in the brain work in the nerves, so more research is required.
Further research and understanding of psychological wellbeing and its impact on our cognitive ability will provide more information for those suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
To conclude, it is essential that an individual actively focuses on building and living a life with meaning and purpose.
There is no doubt that the science around psychological wellbeing and an individual having a strong purpose in their middle age and beyond is compelling for not only their quality of life, both physically and mentally, but also for their mental resilience and cognitive performance.
My Mind News would be keen to hear your views on this subject and if this is something that you have given much attention to. Tell us more in the comments.