Do you love work? Or is it just OK? We all have good and bad days, but if the number of days where you feel bored, frustrated, anxious, and stressed outnumber the good, then you're not only unhappy at work, but, according to a number of studies, you are putting your health at risk.
So what can you do if you fall into that category? The likely conclusion is to change your job, yet so many fail to be convinced that loving work is a realistic goal. You probably think having a great job is an unattainable fantasy, but I know through my work with countless clients up and down the corporate ladder that it's not. If the mere act of fulfillment and joy aren't enough of a reason to make the shift, how about the potential of living longer?
Here are five reasons a fulfilling job can lead to a healthier life:
1. Happy equals healthy. Loving your work--where we spend most of our waking hours--is bound to make you happier. And at least one study found that older people with positive moods were 35 percent less likely to die within the next five years, confirming what we all know deep down: The happier you are, the longer you probably will live.
2. A good job fuels community ties. Having your dream job feels good, which in turn attracts you to other people, communities, and opportunities. According to a report by researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, there is a link between the level of social support and mortality risk for men and women of all ages, regardless of initial health condition. More simply put, people with more social connections live an average of 3.7 years longer than their less-social counterparts. My conclusion: The better you feel about yourself, the more likely you are to make the effort to connect with others, which can help you live longer.
3. Good work brings fulfillment. We all have a purpose. Figuring that out is part of loving work--and is the greatest service we can provide to others and our society. According to Carmen Harra, an author, clinical psychologist, and relationship expert, living with purpose is the first, and possibly most important, key to living a long and healthy life.
4. Liking your job brings less stress and anxiety. Stress is the No. 1 proxy killer disease today--and is the biggest side effect of doing work that isn't a reflection of your strengths or is not providing you joy.
5. Being challenged is better than being bored. If you love your work, then you are being mentally challenged--in a good way. On the other hand, a lack of engagement usually is linked to boredom. According to the Canadian Medical Association, "Mental alertness is fundamental to living the best possible life." Staying mentally alert at work not only keeps you energized and excited, but also can keep your mind sharp as you age.
We all know that loving work is a good thing, but few people take the necessary steps required to make a change. According to Gallup, 70 percent of Americans aren't engaged with their work. What this means is that the majority of us don't love the work that we are doing. The path to change requires stepping out of your comfort zone and facing your fears. While it may not be easy, isn't living longer worth the effort?