Welcome to week 4 of Life On Purpose, how purpose works in the real world, in real life. This is a really neat part of the course. As we start wrapping up the course, we're going to talk about how purpose operates in bunch of different settings. In college and military settings, in work and workplaces, in aging and retirement, in family and communities. Remember in the very first part of this class, we talked about how purpose in life is relevant to human beings in many stages of their lives, in many settings and situations. That's what we're going to be getting into. We're going to start with his idea of how purpose influences people who are still young, still becoming adults right now and often in an adolescent phase, but becoming adults rapidly through college or through military experience. So let's take a look at college freshmen, let's start with them. Let's move over time, starting in 1965. Let's take a look at two key values that college freshmen would say that's really important for me. There were two key values that I'd like to focus on. One is," I want to be very well-off financially", and the other is," I want to have a meaningful philosophy in my life." Let's take a look at how that changed among college freshmen every five years since 1965. You can see that being well off financially has surpassed around 1975, having a meaningful philosophy of life and continued to grow over time. I've certainly seen this in my teaching career, that over time, students seem to be more focused on being financially well off and probably a little less interested in having this meaningful philosophy of life. Yet I think what this course is trying to say is that, it's really important to have a meaningful philosophy of life, to have a strong purpose in your life, and to understand how to build that purpose in your life. Because look what happens, students who kept saying,"I want to be well-off financially", well, you know what? You got what you wished for and this is what we can see now. If you look at the average personal income since 1974 versus being very happy, the percent of people in the United States being very happy, these are people in the US overall. This is an overall set of surveys that were done on US personal income and it's adjusted to $2018 and happiness over time. This is what we're finding. We see that personal income in the blue has risen dramatically. We make a lot more money adjusting for $2018 now than we did in 1974. So that's increased a lot. Has happiness increased? Not at all. In fact, happiness is decreased by a small amount. So we certainly have not increased happiness by making more money. There probably is a certain threshold of money that you need to make that will increase your happiness because you'll just have more freedom of choice. That's very important to have. But we certainly have not made our overall population in the United States happier as a result of this dramatic increase in personal income. This is what's happening with college students as I see it as well. In the last 10 years, major depression has doubled over time from 8 percent to now 18 percent in 2018. This comes from a wonderful study called the Healthy Mind Survey where every year, tens of thousands of students have been surveyed asking them about their major depression. They've also been asked this very sensitive question, over the past year, have you thought about ending your life? You see that that is come close to doubling over the last 10 years. Unfortunately, I've seen an increasing number of students saying yes to that question. They have thought about ending their life, and tragically, I've seen a number of students actually ending their life. All I can say is that, this has to change. We're seeing dramatic increases throughout the United States now in suicide rates and throughout many parts of the world in suicide rates. I also see that we are decreasing our level of purpose in our lives. When we look at purpose in this Healthy Mind Survey, they ask this simple question, I lead a purposeful and meaningful life. So this is also asked of these tens of thousands of college students every year, where one is, I don't lead a purposeful or meaningful life at all to seven were, I lead a super purposeful and meaningful life. I wanted to divide this scale out into three domains. One would be what I would call the red zone, the ones through fours. Then let's look at the yellow zone, the fives and sixes. Now let's look at the people who say I lead a real, purposeful and meaningful life. I'm a seven on this, so that's in the green zone. So three different zones. Let's take a look at how those zones relate to depression and suicidal ideation. When we look at depression, we see that people in the red zone are much more likely to be depressed than people in the green zone. In fact, three times more likely to have major depression as measured through a standardized depression scale called the PHQ-9. Thirty three percent in the red zone have major depressive symptoms. Let's look at suicidal ideation. It's even scarier. Twenty-nine percent of students in the red zone. Remember, on a scale of 1-7, in terms of leading a purposeful and meaningful life, they're one through four. If you cite one through four, 29 percent of that group say that they've thought about ending their lives in the last 12 months versus only four percent in the green zone. This is very scary to me, especially given the fact that our purpose in life is reducing over time. Now let's look at how this may relate to a structural factor, financial stress. A lot of students that I see have a lot of financial stress. A lot of students that I see and meet and talk with in my office hours don't have a lot of financial stress. We thought that maybe purpose might buffer or moderate the impact of financial stress on these college students. So we did some of our own analysis looking at this. First of all, when we ask a question such as suicidal ideation, "In the past year, did you ever seriously think about attempting suicide?", the percent of people who say yes goes up as financial stress increases. So people who are always or often financially stressed out are much more likely, let us say, yes, I have thought about attempting suicide or ending my life, unfortunately. But now let's break that out into these three different levels of purpose, the red, the yellow, and the green level of purpose. What we see is that people with a high purpose, even if they are stressed out a lot, if they have a lot of financial stress, they still have a relatively low indication of attempting suicide or thoughts about attempting suicide. Now let's look at the people with low purpose. The people with low purpose, even those who do not have financial stress, are much more likely to say that they had seriously thought about attempting suicide in the last 12 months. So look at the difference here. I might have a lot of financial stress, but a high purpose, I'm still doing a lot better in terms of my thoughts about suicide attempts than a person who never has financial stress but a very low purpose in their lives. So you see how there are interactions here and how purpose may really buffer the impact of financial stress on really horrible outcomes such as suicide. So we've talked a bit about college students and how important having a purpose in life is among college students, let's talk just a little bit about military service as well. We've already discussed how military veterans often have post-traumatic growth as opposed to just post traumatic stress, and that the biggest predictor of post-traumatic growth is having a strong purpose in your life. Very important predictor. So let's talk about interventions in the real world that might help military veterans after they've gone through very often really difficult stressors in their lives. How could we help them actually enhance their purpose and enhance their post traumatic growth? There's a recent study that's really amazing and it's a randomized trial, not unlike a randomized drug trial, where you have an active drug and a placebo. In this case, what they did was take veterans and have half of them randomized to a loving kindness meditation. In this loving kindness meditation efforts we've talked about before, they're engaged in compassionate thoughts, compassion around people who they love all the way through people who they really dislike, and wishing those people happiness and freedom from suffering. What they found in that group compared to the control condition is that these veterans improve their purpose in life and they also improve their post-traumatic stress. In fact, they ended up with more post-traumatic growth three months later.