From early childhood there is typically a strong sense of pressure to succeed that’s often instilled by parents, teachers, or other adult figures in a child’s life. This pressure to succeed can come in handy by sparking self-motivation and drive to push yourself outside of your comfort zone, grow, and hit goals that would otherwise stay on the backburner. The bottom line is that this pressure to succeed isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but when it interferes with your mental health it can have damaging effects.
Common Negative Effects
When you put so much pressure on yourself to succeed, it starts to come before everything else: your health, your happiness, your relationships, and more. For example, if you get a “prestigious” job where you’re not treated with respect and that isn’t a fit for your personality and what you’re looking for, you’ll slowly start to develop a sense of self-loathing or depression. That’s because on the outside you may feel that you’ve fulfilled your journey to become “successful”, but on the inside you’re completely unhappy.
Another example is if you’re working 80 hours a week and outwardly showcasing success by having a great job and making an above average income, your mental health will slowly begin to deteriorate after an extended time of not getting enough sleep, not doing activities that you enjoy, not spending enough time with the people who you care about in your life.
The most common mental health illnesses that stem from an unhealthy relationship with the pressure to succeed are often:
What You Should Do
You don’t have to choose between your mental health and being whatever you define as successful. One great way to keep yourself on track and balance both is by creating a list of things in your life that make you happy and that are important to you. Do you like going to the gym a few times a week? Do you like spending one day a week with family? Write these things down, and keep track of them. If you are sacrificing EVERYTHING on your list to achieve your goals, then it’s time to reevaluate.
Make sure that you aren’t sacrificing important and meaningful aspects of your life. If you find yourself working too much for example, make sure that you’re consciously setting aside time to do a few of the things on your list throughout the week. See how that makes you feel. Find out exactly what you need to feel fulfilled, happy, and healthy. Then you’ll begin to understand the healthy balance that works best for you.
Life Adjustment Team is here to help you manage your mental illness. If you are ready to get control of your life and learn how to cope with your mental health, contact us today!