An 18 year study published by the American Psychological Association has revealed some interesting information about chasing your life goals and its relation to depression and panic attacks.
According to the study of 3,294 adults in the Journal of Abnormal Psychology, people who persist in chasing their life goals and who generally have a positive outlook on life are less likely to suffer anxiety and depression.
“Perseverance cultivates a sense of purposefulness that can create resilience against or decrease current levels of major depressive disorder, generalized anxiety disorder and panic disorder,” Nur Hani Zainal from The Pennsylvania State University explains. “Looking on the bright side of unfortunate events has the same effect because people feel that life is meaningful, understandable and manageable.”
Michelle G. Newman, Ph.D. also from Penn State says, “Often, people with these disorders are stuck in a cycle of negative thought patterns and behaviors that can make them feel worse. We wanted to understand what specific coping strategies would be helpful in reducing rates of depression, anxiety and panic attacks.”
So, what do we do and how do we change our outlook?
“Our findings suggest that people can improve their mental health by raising or maintaining high levels of tenacity, resilience and optimism,” she explains. “Aspiring toward personal and career goals can make people feel like their lives have meaning. On the other hand, disengaging from striving toward those aims or having a cynical attitude can have high mental health costs.”
Read more about the study and its findings here.