Work Colleagues Drive Your Longevity

One of my executive clients once told me that “if it wasn’t for the people, work would be easy”. He may be right, but it would also rob him of great rewards. In fact, it might even stunt his longevity!

Several observations from the social and biological sciences inform our understanding of longevity. First, we know that a sense of purpose both prolongs life, and increases health and happiness. Next, we know that marriage, and social engagement with friends and family drive health and happiness, and increase longevity. But what about work? Do the many hours we spend slaving away help us to live longer?

For the most part, people with a job, or who work for themselves, have a purpose, even a mission. This is good. But there is more to this answer. In 2011, researchers published the results of a study that followed the lives of almost 1000 workers over 20 years. They evaluated several work-related psycho-social factors for their impact on longevity. Of all the possible influences they explored, only peer social support had a positive impact. Those workers who reported greater peer support had significantly lower mortality rates. They lived longer.

Based on this, and other science, my own choice is clear. 

  1. I will work for as long as I can.
  2. I will give as much kindness and support as I am able to those around me at work. Not only is this good for me, but this research proves its good for them too.
  3. I will (try very hard to) be open to the kindness and support of my peers and colleagues. For many of us, particularly for givers, this one is difficult. We’re raised to prize independence, and often view reliance on others as a weakness. Not so, says the science! On the contrary. Mother Nature has designed us to benefit from their support. I will try harder!

I hope that these insights help you to unlock a long, healthy, happy and productive future!

Have fun,

Roddy

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