Avoid stress, be optimistic, retire early, hit the gym and you'll thrive, right? Nope. New research has discovered that a long career of hard work, not relaxation, is the key to a long and successful life.
Researchers Howard Friedman and Leslie Martin analyzed a 90-year study that tracked 1,528 Americans since 1928. The study was started by Lewis Therman, a psychologist at Stanford University, and has been carried on through the decades by other researchers.
The research found that those with stable, successful careers were less likely to die young than those who skipped from job to job without a clear career goal. Those who continued to work into their 70s lived longer than those who retired early.
Surprisingly, the study found that a laid-back, carefree approach to life is not conducive to longevity. Those who were practical, well-organized, detail-oriented and slightly obsessive lived the longest. Worry and occasional stress were actually health-productive -- tell that to your doctor!
Another shocker includes this fact: It wasn't the happiest individuals who lived longest, but those who were focused on achieving career goals.
Here are a few other interesting tidbits from the study:
- Married men lived longest, while single men outlived remarried men
- Divorced women who stayed single lived nearly as long as married women
- Staying active in middle age was highly important to health and longevity
- Those who engaged in enjoyable outdoor activities -- gardening, walking, swimming -- lived longer than those who went jogging or exercised in gyms
If some of these findings strike you as counterintuitive, you're not alone. Who would have thought hard work and stress would be healthier than relaxation and a happy-go-lucky attitude? Whatever the case, it might be a good idea to get a life insurance policy just to be safe.
So, the next time you think your soul-crushing job is sending you to an early grave, remember: hard work will help you live longer. So the next time you're asked to work overtime, give your boss a big hug.