Motivation's Effect on Mental and Physical Health
By Charles Hopkins
Published 04/22/2006 | Self Improvement
Many studies have been done to research the effects of motivation and mental health. As the implications of helping those with negative self-esteem, depression and anxiety are immense this is certainly an area of research that deserves a great deal of attention.
Psychology Online reports on a study investigating the differences between INTERNAL and EXTERNAL MOTIVATION. The report states that "Although our society is largely extrinsically-motivated by external rewards such as money, fame and power, research has indicated those who are intrinsically-motivated by inner desires for creativity, fulfillment and inner satisfaction are psychologically healthier and happier."
How can this help you?
The study of health psychology seeks to understand how our ability to cope with stress can help us to prevent illness and promote health. Some of these coping mechanisms are naturally inborn but may be taught to those who lack them. Motivation is one of the tools that researchers are trying to use as a combatant of negative stress reactions.
Motivation is something that we use every day. It's what enables us to survive - to get food because we're hungry, to go to work to pay the bills or to educate ourselves in order to pursue a higher goal in life.
How we respond to life's demands can affect our overall health. How are you classified?
The same report on Psychology Online identified those who respond to life with negativity or anxiety as most likely to deal with the physical affects of anger, guilt, nervousness, frustration and fear. These emotions can cause hypertension and high blood pressure which can lead to heart attack or stroke. Other complications include ulcers, arthritis, asthma and kidney disease.
Some therapists suggest that by using positive self-talk and trying to restructure the WAY we look at events can offset the physical and mental effects of dealing with negative or stressful events in life.
Interestingly, people who tend to focus on themselves as the controller of their fate - in fact 'self-motivated' - are more likely to feel a sense of control when stressors affect them. Instead of blaming something or someone else they have the motivation to deal with a problem and look for a reasonable solution. This positive behavior helps them to achieve goals and find personal contentment.
Therapists try to teach patients how to emulate this positive reaction to stress and use their motivation as a source of empowerment. Learning to manage stress and using motivation to set goals, work through a problem or fix it can in turn promote better mental and physical health.