Hard work never killed anyone but why take a chance, or so the meme goes! But the fact is, and is now backed by research, that work is actually good for you – body, soul and mind. In an independent study commissioned by the Department of Work and Pensions in the UK; authors G. Waddell and A.K. Burton successfully concluded that work is generally beneficial to overall physical and mental wellbeing, so long as the work or workplace in itself is safe.
Let’s explore the physical and physiological reasons why working is good for you…
Keeps us mentally active
As Homo sapiens we are different from the rest of the mammals in being physically weaker but mentally, a whole evolution ahead. The frontal lobe of our brain is designed to think and by thinking – solving problems, planning ahead and making decisions. Many things can be detrimental to the frontal lobe – drugs, alcohol, EMFs, an incorrect diet and surprisingly, inactivity. By not working and living a goal-less life, we are not only confusing our brain but perhaps slowly killing it. Working promotes brain activity thus keeping our brain, younger, healthier, longer!
Gives us a natural high
When faced with a stressful situation, our body tends to flood itself with adrenaline which further leads to the flight or fight impulse. Contrary to popular belief, reducing stress is not as effective as letting the body cope with stress. Adrenaline helps our body and mind to cope with that stress. And if you stick to the fight impulse, and you emerge as a winner no matter the knocks – the body rewards itself with dopamine – a feel-good hormone that keeps you enervated for long (think of the high you get after exercise, orgasm or even after you eat chocolate).
Gives our self-esteem a boost
Our work defines us – it’s who we are beyond the barriers of color, race or religion. It binds us to a place, makes us feel like we belong somewhere. It also provides us with a sense of control. It’s our one true identity and provides us with a sense of achievement – making us satisfied and happier, inside out. Having something to do, something to achieve, is what gets us out of bed every day – research has proven that unemployment is bad for mental balance in more ways than one, so work keeps us happy, even on blue Mondays.
Provides us with emotional & moral support
As humans, we are social creatures and crave constant contact – physical, emotional, sexual. Many of us have demanding jobs that may not leave us with enough time to mingle so it’s the workplace itself which also becomes our home away from home and emerges as a surrogate family and support system. As a successful careerist, it’s also a natural urge in us to reach out to as many people as we can, if nothing but to share accomplishments. We take pride in ourselves and the more we reach out, the healthier we are, emotionally.
Makes the human race innovate
Bitchy colleagues apart, our work helps us compete against each other by basically pitting teams against each other. A workplace competition is more of a human cooperative competition that also promotes teamwork! The competetive spirit keeps us thinking and racing the clock to innovate – be it save the planet or save the children – our innovations is what takes the human race to the next level.
So for all of us plagued with weekday blues, this one is an eye opener. It’s better to be too busy to have a life than to be aimless and still have no life. Work makes us happier on the inside and the outside - of course, a neat bank balance doesn’t hurt either!