Health Benefits of Doing the Work You Love
Do you dream about the job you really want while you’re plodding through the daily grind of your current job? Changing careers or getting a new degree can be challenging, but there is some evidence that your health may benefit from your willingness to do just that.
Maybe you love the outdoors and dream about a career in landscape architecture or forestry services. Maybe you play several musical instruments and secretly dream of pursuing an online masters in music education. It turns out, following your true career desires can improve your mood, your sleep and even help you lose weight. The cumulative effect of finding job fulfillment may help you decide whether a career change is in your future.
Benefits to Your Brain Chemistry
Research shows that having an intellectual passion is an important factor in keeping your brain healthy and functioning properly. People who pursue their passions are less likely to experience memory decline. Generally, when you feel more confident and more content with life, your brain releases chemicals that result in better mood, increased patience and higher productivity. This set of feelings creates a positive feedback loop in the brain. In other words, feeling better improves the chemistry of your nervous system, which promotes even more pleasant feelings.
Making a positive contribution always feels good. Doing so with passion is even better. It allows those feel-good endorphins to course through your brain. When you are following your passion, even getting up in the morning can activate this positive cycle. When your job feels burdensome and unpleasant to you, waking up in the morning is much more difficult. Having the opportunity to feel excited about going to work gets you up and releases those natural neurochemicals, setting a positive tone for the day.
The opportunity to make a living doing something you enjoy generally gives you a sense that you are in the right place, that you are wanted where you are. You belong. These feelings will likely give you a powerful neurochemical boost. When you are applying your natural interests and skills, you are likely to be more invested in doing your very best work. That generally translates into a higher level of productivity and better overall job performance.
Benefits to Your Immune System
It’s been established that the most common time for people to have heart attacks is on Monday mornings. People spend most of their waking time working. Chronic anxiety and discontent about your life’s work can literally make you sick. When you have a pervasive positive feeling about your work, your immune system will be your best advocate and will help you ward off illness and maintain health.
Adequate sleep is often overlooked as a factor of health and well-being. Sleep can affect your mood, cognitive capacity and immune-system health. When you are engaged in work that resonates with your values and your innate gifts, you will likely experience more energy, accomplish more and find it easier to fall asleep at night. You may even require less sleep to maintain a healthy immune system.
You may find you make better lifestyle decisions when you love your job. When you are feeling fulfilled in your life’s work, you will tend to exercise more and eat healthier food. Lower blood pressure, healthier body weight and greater longevity are direct results of these better choices.
Pursuing your passions and working in a job you feel good about can also affect your experience of pain and discomfort. Those good brain chemicals can promote a higher tolerance to pain. Feeling fulfilled in your job is known to affect how you experience chronic pain. It may feel less debilitating, and minor discomforts may not bother you much at all.
While making a career change can be scary and require significant effort, the energy you expend making the change can mark the beginning of a healthier lifestyle. If this discussion has encouraged you to look into that landscape architecture or music education program, you may just end up feeling better and living longer.