Asking yourself 'What's the meaning of life?' may extend it

This essay is part of a column called The Wisdom Project by David Allan, editorial director of CNN Health and Wellness. The series is on applying to one's life the wisdom and philosophy found everywhere, from ancient texts to pop culture. You can follow David at @davidgallan. Don't miss another Wisdom Project column; subscribe here.

(CNN)"What is the meaning of life?"

It's one of those enormous questions that's so important -- both philosophically and practically, in terms of how we live our lives -- and yet we rarely, if ever, stop to really think about the answer.
Given that you might be able to formulate your response in less than a minute, the wisdom-to-effort ratio for this philosophical exercise could not be more advantageous.
    And having an answer may even improve your health and help you live longer.
    A new study published Tuesday in the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry examined the relationship between our physical and mental well-being and the search for, or presence of, purpose in life.