In the era of the Great Resignation and quiet quitting, ambition can feel like a dirty word. Many people have realized that having a positive mindset can help improve mental health. In October, the US Surgeon General declared mental health a public health priority following the pandemic. According to studies, chasing extrinsic goals can trigger depression and anxiety.
Despite the negative effects of chasing goals, it’s still possible to maintain a positive mindset and achieve inner peace. According to researchers, the key to achieving this is to focus on a goal that serves your well-being.
Despite the negative effects of chasing goals, ambition isn’t always bad for mental health. In 2012, a study revealed that more ambitious people were more likely to have successful careers. However, this didn’t prove that having a high level of ambition was related to life satisfaction.
The target of your ambition can have a stronger impact on your mental health. According to studies, people motivated by extrinsic factors such as status, wealth, and fame are not as fulfilled as those motivated by intrinsic factors like knowledge, personal growth, and relationships. Tim Kasser, a professor emeritus at Knox College, explained that reaching an extrinsic goal can briefly satisfy one, but it’s not always long-lasting.
Retraining your ambition can help you feed instead of harming your mental health. There are several proven ways to do this, and you can start by practicing.
Having an ambitious goal can negatively affect your mental health because it can prevent you from fully satisfying yourself. If you’re not able to fully satisfy yourself, it can take a toll on your mental health. Be sure to set aside time in your routine to connect with your friends and family; this will help keep you grounded and build a stable foundation from which to pursue your ambitions.
Stay in the Moment
According to research, people who are more focused on achieving for their own sake will feel more fulfilled. Instead of striving for a promotion or raise, they will be able to achieve more by mastering a task or creating a positive change for their community.
If you’re not focused on achieving for yourself, try adopting a growth mindset. It’s better to focus on developing a skill or learning something that you can use to improve yourself instead of setting goals that require getting a certain salary or job title.
Practice Mindfulness and Gratitude
One study found that people who practiced meditation regularly were more satisfied with their lives and had better well-being. Another study revealed that regular reflections on mortality and relationships could help improve mental health.
Don’t Make Everything a Business
According to researchers, attaching extrinsic rewards, such as cash, to activities that people enjoy can decrease their motivation to continue doing them. If your goal is psychological satisfaction, then you might be better off without the extra money.
Originally published on Herrick Lipton’s website.