Following Your Dreams Helps You Live Longer

Do people live longer when they follow their dreams? Let’s face it, some of our dreams are unrealistic. But, does chasing them help us live longer?

Absolutely.

But how? Well first, you need to be happy.

Happy People are Healthier; Healthier People Live Longer.

When you are happier, you are healthier. In fact, you will likely live longer if you are happier.

This isn’t just a saying. A study published by the Journal of Proceedings of the National Academy of Science shows a direct link between people’s moods and mortality rates.

According to the study, “there is evidence that positive affective states, and other measures of well-being, are associated prospectively with longer survival and reduced risk of diseases.”

Therefore, it stands to reason that being unhappy can also make medical matters worse.

“For example, heart disease can cause greater stress in some people than in others, which might affect their level of enjoyment.” Dr. Dilip Jeste, from the University of California San Diego, tells CBS News

So basically, being unhappy can cause you to have poor health; and, having poor health can cause you to be unhappier. It’s a double-edged sword that you should avoid.

Achieving your dream is one way to be happy. Happy people are healthier, and healthier people live longer. Simple logic.

Sounds great right? But what about people who will never realize their dreams?

You Don’t Have to Achieve Your Dreams to be Happy.

Happiness can come not only from achieving your dreams, but also from journeying along the road to achieving them. Not everyone will reach their goals in life, but they can certainly continue trying to.

Now, I am not saying to sell all your possessions and join the circus. You obviously need to be smart about things (see “find your dream job” below). So, what do I mean? Simple.

Sometimes the journey is the best part.

“Success is a journey, not a destination,” says former tennis star, Arthur Ashe. “The doing is often more important than the outcome.”

According to Craig Cincotta, one of the reasons the journey is more important is because the journey is guaranteed (the destination is not).

“The journey itself and what you will get out of it IS guaranteed,” says Cincotta. “Every day you have a chance to get better, to learn something new, to meet new people, to solve problems in different ways. In a world where nothing is guaranteed, living in and appreciating the present can sometimes be the greatest reward of all.”

Look at people who have achieved their dreams. Do they sit around talking about how happy they are or do they tell the stories about how they got there? Remember that!

In the Meantime, Find Your “Dream” Job.

If your dream is to become an astronaut or professional basketball player, don’t quit your day job. In fact, you should probably find a day job.

When it comes to work, find out what you are good at and something you like to do. Your “dream” job, as I refer to it, simply means doing something you like to do. According to Gary Vaynerchuk, doing something you love will make you even more productive (likely leading to more energy to achieve your dreams — my two cents).

“The only thing I desperately want for you (more than the money and the attention and the fame),” writes Vaynerchuk, “is the feeling you get when you are able to do what you love (day in and day out). Because when you truly love it … you’ll work every single second for it.”

Remember the famous adage, “choose a job you love, and you will never have to work a day in your life.”

So find a good job that you enjoy. You will need something to pay the bills while you dream big. It will also help keep up your endurance for chasing that dream. Imagine if you are falling short of your goals and stuck in a dead-end job. Remember health and happiness? Thought so.

Some people actually get the best of both worlds. What if you can combine your “dream job” with your actual dreams? That’s one way to win the lottery.

Deno Taglioli did just that. Founder of Emerald City Band, Deno just loved to play music. He doubled down on it by moving from Michigan to Texas during his college years.

“Most bands in Texas performed primarily country music,” recalls Deno. “I wanted a different sound so we combined everything from Sinatra to high energy dance music.”

Deno does this as his full-time job (in addition to performing and managing several other groups).

“It really is true, if you can dream it you can achieve it,” adds Deno. “Don’t waste your time doing something you’re not in love with. People can tell the difference.”

Final Thoughts

No, you don’t have to be happy to live longer, but studies show that you likely will if you are.

Happy people are healthier and healthier people live longer. Continue to chase your dreams as, even if you don’t achieve them, you can have one hell of a journey.

In the meantime, take care of your living and find a job you love. Who knows, maybe your dreams and your dream job turn out to be one and the same.