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Doing a job you love will help you to live longer – here’s why

They say “if you love what you do, you’ll never work another day in your life”. But research now shows that loving your job will actually help you to live a longer, healthier life too.

And within the Ethicaljobs.com.au community, our last survey showed that people already working in the not-for-profit sector were about one-third more likely to love the work they do, compared to those working in the private sector.

So if you’re looking for that dream ethical job, here are five reasons why your future self will thank you for not giving up or settling for something else:

1. Happiness

If you spend eight of the best hours of your day doing something you enjoy, you’re bound to be happier. And, this happiness can lead to a longer life span.

Researchers from the University College of London studied 11,000 people aged 50+ over almost ten years. They asked participants to rate their happiness four times a day and also took saliva samples.

They found that the study participants who rated themselves the happiest were 35 percent less likely to die within the next five years as opposed to those who felt less positive.

2. Social Connections

Doing a job that makes you feel good gives you the confidence and motivation to connect with other people. In turn, connecting with other people gives you great social support and, according to research, can help you live longer.

Researchers at Brigham Young University and the University of North Carolina found that people with higher levels of social support, regardless of their age, have a 50 percent lower mortality rate than people who are less socially connected.

3. Sense of purpose

People who work in ethical jobs often do so because they know that having meaning and purpose in their work will make them more fulfilled than just about anything else.

Research shows how purpose can also make you live longer. The researchers analysed the health and wellbeing of thousands of volunteers in the US state of Wisconsin and found that people who volunteer for altruistic reasons – that is because they want to help others – were likely to live longer than those who didn’t volunteer.

4. Less stress

Recent research from Finland found that work-related stress has a physical impact on our DNA.

It’s a little complex, but essentially the research found that participants with severe exhaustion caused by work had shorter leukocyte telomeres – a part of your DNA which can predict your lifespan (longer ones usually mean a longer lifespan) and age-related disease (shorter ones mean more disease as you age).

That’s not to say that ethical jobs are stress-free, but doing something you love should be less stressful than going to a job that you hate, and that gives you no fulfilment or sense of purpose.

5. Less boredom

Being bored at work can be bad for your health –  a study of thousands of British civil servants found that those who were bored by the work were more likely to die during it than those who loved the job.

Being mentally challenged in your job will not only keep you alert and excited in your current job, it will also help to keep your brain sharp as you age.

And while there probably are boring but still-ethical jobs out there, being passionate about the work you do and the impact you’re having in the world seems pretty close to a guarantee that your work won’t bore you senseless.

This article is based on an article that originally appeared on Inc.com.

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