It’s been pretty well documented by now that passion is good for your business. Especially when it’s properly understood and not just used as a synonym for something you enjoy doing. Simon Sinek explains how passion can be translated into your company’s core values in his TED Talk, “Finding Your Why.” And how knowing their reason for being is the key differentiator between companies that excel and ones that merely turn profit.
Thus, if passion is good for (or arguably) essential to your business, it should come as a pleasant surprise that it’s also good for your health. The average American works 47 hours a week, which is 25 percent more than our European counterparts. And to be honest, something about that statistic feels a little wonky. With email on our smartphones and high speed internet at home, it often feels like we never leave the office.
So, it stands to reason that loving what you do will make your day more pleasant, or at the very least, not loathing what you do. Workplace stress is responsible for as much as $190 billion in healthcare costs every year. Your job can literally make you sick! Deadlines, extra hours, and pressure from an overbearing boss, can all have a profound effect on your mental and physical health, provoking extreme stress, anxiety, and even heart disease.
Amy Ching, Senior Data Analyst at CarVi, a leading automobile technology firm that designs safety technology for cars, is driven by passion. We recently spoke about the advancements the company is making in the vehicle safety space and ended up concluding that passion is essential to innovation — and good for your health as well! Here are a few reasons why:
Passion is good for your brain
According to Total Brain Health, having an intellectual passion is a major factor in keeping your brain healthy. Passion is also good for staving off memory loss. People who show lifelong intellectual engagement develop memory loss later as they age. Having a passion, whether it’s learning a language, playing Sudoku, or climbing mountains, is the best way to get a mental workout. In fact, according to one German study, adults who became proficient at juggling showed increased brain volume on imaging studies.
Passion gives you a purpose in life
Amy enthuses: “It’s easy to get passionate about our jobs at CarVi, every member of the team is driven by the goal of saving lives. It makes us want to come to work every morning.” Having a passion gives us a purpose in life. And having a purpose leads to fulfillment and happiness, which is subsequently good for our health. Many scientific studies have found a connection between happiness and good health.
People with an optimistic mindset are more likely to engage in healthy behaviors, such as exercising and eating right. Lower blood pressure and a healthier BMI have been associated with improved well-being on many occasions. You’ve probably already heard that happiness releases endorphins, in the same way exercise does. But having something to get excited about in the morning sets those natural neurochemicals coursing through your body, reducing pain, minimizing discomfort, and making you feel healthier.
Passion drives you to be better
Once you’ve identified your passion as the driving force of your business, it will propel you to be better and seek continual improvement. That means that both your professional and personal relationships will benefit, as will the way you treat yourself. “Our motivation at CarVi,” says Amy, “is zero accidents, and we’re continually working on driving innovation forward and being better at what we do.”
Being better at your job (or wanting to be better) most often has a contagious effect and spreads to your personal life as well. When someone is continually seeking self-improvement it makes them healthier. Isolating areas of their life that are unhealthy for them and becoming the best version of themselves possible.
So, there you have it. Whether you’re passionate about saving lives, helping people organize their lives, or writing all about it, having a passion is good for your health! If you want to keep memory loss at bay, enjoy improved mental agility for longer, lower blood pressure and get a better quality of sleep, start following your passion today. Doctor’s orders.
Originally published at medium.com