Research is showing us the importance of having a purpose in life.
This article was originally written for the New Scientist Journal by Teal Burrell
But a 2007 Gallup poll of 141,000 people in 132 countries found that, even though people from wealthier countries rate themselves higher on measures of happiness, people from poorer nations tend to view their lives as more meaningful. Shigehiro Oishi at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville, who analysed the poll data, suspects this is in part because people in developing countries have more concrete things to focus on. “Their goals are clearer perhaps: to survive and believe. In rich countries, there are so many potential choices that it could be hard to see clearly,” he says.