Connection Between Ambition and Mental Health

How one views social status, including financial status, can predict mental health problems including bipolar disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, anxiety and depression.

A study published in the journal Psychology and Psychotherapy: Theory, Research, and Practice, applied the “dominance behavioral system” — a model used to explain how humans and animals assess their position in social hierarchies.

They used this model to assess 600 young men and women, particularly focusing on their motivation to achieve wealth and power.

“Whether they achieved success by these definitions or not, the outcome was dim: A deflated sense of power or disappointment in social standing was associated with a higher risk of depression and anxiety, while excessive striving and ambition meant a higher risk of bipolar disorder and narcissistic personality disorder.” 

Interestingly, when The Huffington Post asked the researchers why they used an animal behavioral model to assess human beings, the researchers replied: 

“Most of us are used to the idea that we live within a system of social dominance, or that there’s some sort of rank order or sense of hierarchy among people. That’s interesting to me because it’s got some deep roots — most animals who live in packs have a sense of hierarchy. There are a lot of scientists who study this in animal models. What we’ve been working on, a long with a lot of other researchers, is the idea that there are a lot of pieces in how to think about our social hierarchy.”

I see this article as adding more evidence to the idea that our thoughts affect our life, individual thoughts, and collective thoughts.

If you are continuously comparing yourself with what your society deems as successful, beautiful, and acceptable, then you are likely to be denying yourself and holding yourself up to ridiculous standards that were created by someone else or a system outside of yourself. You are measuring yourself up to the standards of institutions and corporations. Companies that profit based on how much you spend to change yourself to fit their image, trends, and style.

What is suggested is to love yourself enough to follow your heart. Learn to hone your instincts and trust your intuition.

YOU are your best guide! You can decide based on your own internal guidance system.

When we decide what we should do by watching others and listening to what we are told, we buy into the templates others have designed for their life. Instead of relying on the guidance system of others, we can learn to cleanse, clarify and purify our body nutritionally, our soul spiritually, and then our mind, learning how to trust ourselves with every new decision.

Furthermore, a study found in 2010 that people who live in developed countries with very high levels of income inequality are three times more likely to suffer from depression or anxiety disorders than people living in developed nations that are more economically uniform. The new research suggests that countries with particularly large gaps between rich and poor may foster cultures of intense striving for wealth and power, in which it’s easy for an individual’s self-worth to become deeply intertwined with their social status.