A recent study found that persons who delayed long-term goals during the epidemic were better able to avoid fear and sadness.
The University of Waterloo researchers intended to examine into the relationship between COVID-frozen objectives (goals whose development has been paused due to COVID-19) and psychological well-being.
“Typically, when we think about how to maximise goal accomplishment and well-being, we focus on how to be more dedicated and engaged with our goals,” said Abigail Scholer, a psychology professor at Waterloo and Canada Research Chair in Motivated Social Cognition. “Our findings show that being able to let go of aspirations, particularly during COVID, is an important aspect of maintaining mental health.”
Candice Hubley, the study’s lead author and a PhD candidate in psychology at Waterloo, and Scholer polled 226 people to investigate the link between psychological well-being and goal pursuit. Participants were asked about their psychological suffering and life satisfaction, as well as about normally advancing and COVID-frozen goals.
The researchers discovered that COVID-frozen objectives were linked to poor well-being: the more people possessed, the more psychological distress they experienced, such as tension, depressive symptoms, and worry.
The researchers also stated that how people engage with their goals has a significant impact on their well-being.
“Goal rumination is compulsive and can exacerbate fears and disappointments while depleting mental resources from other objectives,” Hubley explained. “We hope that people can apply these findings to their own lives by taking the time to review and participate with their goals.”
According to Hubley, disengagement is not an all-or-nothing concept, and we may give up one type of participation but not others. Individuals strengthen their connection to their objectives and increase their psychological well-being by renouncing unachievable aims and redirecting efforts to other goals.
The researchers want to expand on their findings and hope that their work may aid in future treatments aimed at supporting individuals in being more flexible in their goal pursuit in order to increase well-being.