We live in a world where way too many people lack enthusiasm while they’re going about their day-to-day, and where the alarm clock in the morning signals the beginning of a passionless grind to get and stay ahead. People have become so complacent in their discomfort that they are afraid of pursuing anything that might present risk, even if it is liberating — and if this behavior and these attitudes become chronic, it can be detrimental to both mental and physical health.

Of course, everyday stress is unavoidable at work. However, if your job is causing you to feel legitimately unhappy (or, worse, to feel nothing at all) then perhaps it’s time to either rekindle your passion or look for something better.

Here are a few reasons why loving and finding meaning in your job is extremely important in today’s age.

Less Stress, Better Health

Any job that causes you a heavy amount of stress is bad for you in myriad ways; increased levels of stress can lead to increased risk for heart attacks, stroke, weight gain, and a weakened immune system. A particularly stressful or intense day of work might even leave you feeling short of breath. In fact, in Japanese, there is a word specifically for “working yourself to death.” In the 1970s, work culture was so intense in Japan that they invented the work “Karoshi”, which involves employees suffering from heart failure and stroke, due to long work hours. This still happens today.

Try not to over-work, take your work home, or worry about your work too much in your off-hours, lest you risk ever fully finding relaxation or even getting a good night’s rest — even if you do love your job. Certain factors such as computer light emissions and bad furnishing in the office could even be contributing to unknown, light stress, so be aware of your surroundings.

“Consistent negative thoughts, worry, and stress can cause serious harm to the body physically, and can certainly get in the way of you being a more productive worker,” writes researcher Katie McBeth. “However, there are some tried-and-true methods for dealing with anxiety at work that can help you cope.”

Working a job you love can help keep your stress levels down and strengthen your quality of life through health. If you don’t, that stress could be amplified and even deadly.

Improving Relationships

Work-related stress is one of the main things that cause tension in relationships; when you’re agitated from a long, stressful day at work, it’s hard to bounce back and leave it all in the office. There isn’t a simple “on” and “off” switch for emotions, and carrying around strong feelings of resentment for your job during your waking hours can easily bleed negativity into other areas of your life as well. When you’re already irritated and in a bad mood, it affects the way you treat other people, and situations that normally wouldn’t bother you might just set you off.

It’s a snowball effect, and it can work the opposite way as well. When you love what you do every day and come home feeling enthusiastic about what you’ve contributed to the world, it makes you passionate and positive about other areas in your life as well, especially relationships. When others see that you’re in a positive and confident mood, they’ll be attracted to your aura and will want to be around you more often. Positivity is infectious.

Jacob Shriar, writing for Business 2 Community, also reminds that, sometimes, improving your relationship at work, is the key to happiness in the office.

“When you have a close friend at work, you feel a stronger connection to the company, and you’re more excited about coming into work every day,” he writes. “You attach yourself to the company’s purpose and collaborate better to create success for the business.”

It Increases Your Confidence and Motivation

It’s hard to feel optimistic about anything, let alone your personal goals when you don’t enjoy what you do with the majority of your day. Many studies have shown that working a career that makes you miserable can lead to an increased risk of depression and anxiety, and when you’re in a state of feeling down and out, you’re much less likely to actively go after your dreams and desires.

Spending your time in a way that is valuable and worthwhile to your personal ideologies will help increase your self-confidence and motivation. Accomplishing goals that are important to you, time and time again will allow you prove to yourself that you’re capable of just about anything you put your mind to. You’ll likely even begin to feel more competent in other, unrelated areas of your life. This is what’s known as intrinsic motivation, and it’s extremely important to pursue.

When people succeed at something they love, it only makes them want to experience more of that feeling, making them more likely to pursue other long-term goals that they hold. So, whether it’s finishing a novel that you’ve been working on for years, or finally taking that art class that you’ve always wanted to, cutting the negative aspects of your life allows more room for positivity and love. If your job is that negative element, the solution is clear: cut it out.

You Deserve It

The most important reason you should pursue a job that you love doing is because you deserve to be happy — just the same as everyone else. You have an entire world of opportunities at your fingertips, and life is too short to spend stuck in the same unfulfilling place forever. Whatever it is that you really want to do in life is worth at least attempting, especially if you know without question that it would make you happy.

Life is like a mirror: if you focus your energy on things that make you unhappy, all you’ll see in life is negativity. On the other hand, if you think and talk about things that inspire and excite you, you’ll open yourself up to many more opportunities that will push you towards true happiness. It just takes a little self-appreciation to accept that you deserve happiness — and that, sometimes, in order to find happiness, you need to critically examine the job that you’re working.

In a time where more and more people are becoming complacent and simply accepting the unhappiness that comes with their job, it’s more important than ever to take charge and find a job that you like — especially if you’ve been eyeing a different job for awhile now. Take a chance. Nothing is worse than living a life wondering what could have been.

Of course, there is a serious side to all of this that must be addressed, and that is knowing the difference between having a bad job and being seriously depressed. It’s estimated that 16.2 million adults in the United States, or 6.7 percent of American adults, have had at least one major depressive episode in a given year. There may be more than just your job causing unhappiness, and if this is the case, see a doctor or qualified medical professional.

For your own mental and physical health, as well as for your personal relationships and satisfaction, make sure you love whatever it is you do in life.

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