3 Ways Gen-Y Can Cope With Ambition-Induced Stress
We all have that ambition inside us and although they’re not bad, it can create adverse effects on us such as anxiety or worthlessness. Today’s generation has limitless options and needless to say, this makes millennials competitive. As video producer Tan Jianhao writes on his article on Straits Times, technology has given the millennial generation limitless potential. Compared to previous generations, millennials are more comfortable to use technology to sight opportunities and make things happen.
A study that dates back in 2012 and was published in the Journal of Neuroscience revealed that the so called “go getters” who work hard to get rewards released higher levels of dopamine in certain brain areas responsible for motivation and reward compared to other participants. Scientifically, dopamine distributed to certain brain areas trigger prediction response whether something good or bad is going to happen. This prediction prompts our drive to either push the predicted reward or step back on the predicted threat.
A field study of the millennial generation published on Journal of Business and Psychology suggest that millennials are more academically and professionally ambitious compared to past generations. Health experts coin stress as an epidemic as today’s 20-something workforce is in a generation of intense competition.
With this, psychologists come up with science-backed up ways to combat ambition-induced stress:
1. Set the right kind of goals
Extrinsic goals like possessions, money, or social status may lead to high levels of distress and low well-being. Similarly, pursuit of “short-terms success sours relationships and seeds regret” as disruption guru, Clayton Christensen revealed. If you have such types of goals, it is best to shift your plans into an intrinsic one. According to psychologist Sheri Johnson, intrinsic drive would be like, “I aspire a more meaningful life” and “I want to feel like I’m doing something good.” Extrinsic motivations would appear like “I want to be wealthier than others.” A helpful exercise would be evaluating specifically how you want to ass value and feel at a given time in your life.
2. Do away with perfectionism
Perfectionism can equate to unrealistic expectations. No one is perfect, according to an old saying. Research reveals that people who are after extrinsic ambitions and fail to achieve them are at a high risk for depression and anxiety. Experts say that when expectations are not met, dopamine drops off thus, it doesn’t feel good.
Set realistic and achievable goals for yourself and just in case not all of them are met, embrace it.
3. Make connections
Research reveals that the happiest people are those with the strongest social connections. Psychologically, a sense of belongingness is one of the basic human needs, so the next time you feel empty, rewards are not what you need. Nurture relationships that help you cope with stress and build the best in you. If there is a good balance of self-awareness and loved ones around us, the journey to our respective ambitions are worth while.