Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof that You Can Heal Yourself. By Lissa Rankin
Unsurprisingly, work environments that avoid shaming employees, encourage creativity, allow flexibility, and foster positive interoffice relationships have also been linked to better employee health. Those with effective employee wellness programs that are linked to financial incentives, such as Safeway, get bonus points for improving health outcomes in their workers. But it is not just about making sure the workplace avoids shame and chooses healthy food for the cafeteria. There is also evidence that, while work stress can literally kill you, doing work you love just might save your life.
Finding your professional bliss can be medicine for the mind, and the body responds with better health and more happiness. Happiness reseearcher Sonja Lyubomirsky, author of The How of Happiness, asserts that people who strive for something significant personally and professionally are happier than those who do not have strong dreams and aspirations. She says, "Find a happy person, and you will find a project."
Studies show that the process of working toward a goal and participating in challenging and stimulating work experiences is as important as actually achieving what it is you desire. Committed pursuit of goals gives us a sense of mission, of pursuit, of being part of something bigger than ourselves, and studies show that this increases our sense of control over our lives, which is known to affect the health of the body.
When your work involves pursuing goals that are personally resonant for you, it boosts your self-esteem as you start checking off the baby-step goals that get your closer to your big dream; it lifts you up and motivates you to keep on plugging away, doing what you love, even when the pursuit of these goals may require tedious tasks, risk-taking, and uncertainty. Pursuing goals also adds meaning and structure to our lives, keeping us on task, ensuring that the world will be a better place because we were in it. Striving to leave a legacy or pursue a calling increases happiness, which leaves teh body flooded with health-inducing hormones that strengthen the immune system, relax teh cardiovascular system, and deactivate the stress response.
Keep in mind that when I talk about "work", I am talking about whatever you spend the majority of your day doing.