Do you recognize yourself in this scenario? You want something very badly, and you would do anything to achieve it. Whether it’s personal or work-related, you push hard towards that goal, with little to no self-care.
But when you’ve finally realized your dream, something clicks. You’re not happy. You’re stressed out, depressed, anxious even. Why do you feel like this when you’ve just reached the finish line?
It’s a tale as old as time. People can be very ambitious creatures, but their strong desire to achieve something often ends up being their undoing. If you’re not careful with your ambition, it can negatively affect your mental health.
Does this mean you can’t have both? Absolutely not. But there’s a fine line between the two, and you should know how not to cross it.
Ambition and Mental Health Are Connected More Than You Know
When you strive to achieve a goal, you often have high expectations. You probably even picture yourself reaching that goal, which boosts your motivation and pushes you to devote more time and energy to the entire process.
But if your expectations are too high or your goal is unreasonable, you may end up feeling frustrated and utterly disappointed.
We see this too often in career pursuits. Many people who chase career success think that they won’t be happy until they’ve realized their goals, which prevents them from feeling happy before their desired accomplishments. This is known as toxic success syndrome.
The truth is you won’t be happy for long if you don’t learn how to be content before reaching success. Happiness and good mental health are the keys to realizing all your ambitions and getting that long-coveted, sustainable success.
How Ambition Can Lead to Stress, Depression, and Anxiety
When you strive for something but things don’t go your way, you may end up feeling utterly disappointed. You start comparing yourself to others, which further hurts your self-esteem, self-worth, and general well-being. This can all very easily lead to anxiety and depression.
Sometimes, too ambitious people focus so much on their goals that they start neglecting their families. More often than not, this leads to divorce, which can result in isolation and, again, depression.
All of this starts with a stress that stems from the fear of not realizing your dreams and ambitions and investing time and effort into something that isn’t going to happen.
But if you don’t properly deal with stress and keep your ambition healthy, you can easily fall down the rabbit hole that leads to depression, anxiety, and other serious health problems. And you certainly know how dangerous those can be to both your physical and mental health.
Granted, it’s not always easy to avoid stress, especially at work, but it’s imperative to try. There are many ways to manage stress in the workplace and elsewhere, so be sure to explore them and regain control over your life.
You Can Easily Balance Ambition and Happiness
Managing stress is the first step towards better mental health. When you remove stress from your life, you make room for happiness, higher self-esteem, better confidence, and success.
You can easily balance work, life, and your ambition by becoming more mindful and taking a more purposeful approach to life. Keep your ambitions, but don’t let them control you. Ambitions are good when they’re focused on something that can genuinely improve your life, but they can become toxic if you forget to live your life.
So, take a step back from ambition every once in a while. Learn how to self-reflect and ensure your ambition isn’t imbued with perfectionism, competition, or superiority. Most importantly, make sure your goals are reasonable and reflect your core values.
You don’t need to sacrifice ambition for your mental health, or vice versa. But to thrive, you need to choose happiness and self-care over your ambition. Only then can you have your cake and eat it, too. Only then can you have both ambition and mental health and become the happiest, healthiest, and most successful version of yourself.
This content is sponsored by the author.
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