Taking it easy can subtract years from your life.
That’s just one of the surprising conclusions reached by health scientists Howard S. Friedman and Leslie R. Martin, authors of The Longevity Project. What’s even more surprising is that having a sustained work life correlates with living longer, even if the work you do is stressful.
Here's a short video of the authors explaining the scope of the Project:
The book is filled with lots of other interesting, counter-intuitive tidbits about what sorts of behaviors increase longevity and it's well worth a read.
Still, the authors’ findings about work disturbed me. I’m all for staying active and remaining on the job if your work gives you pleasure and a sense of purpose. But I worry that books like this one and, dare I say, Defying Gravity, have the unintended effect of making people feel guilty about wanting to slow down and enjoy the fruits of their labor.
Besides, when did a long life become a goal in itself?
I don’t particularly care how old I am when I die. What I care about is trying to make the world a better place and enjoying myself while I’m at it.
What about you?