To persevere not only pushes you toward your goals, but also fends off anxiety, depression and panic attacks.

According to new research, individuals who maintain a more positive outlook and who keep working toward their goals have fewer symptoms of anxiety and depression. This study “followed thousands of Americans over the course of 18 years.”

“‘Perseverance cultivates a sense of purposefulness that can create resilience…looking on the bright side of unfortunate events has the same effect because people feel that life is meaningful, understandable and manageable,’” stated Nur Hani Zainal, the lead author of the study.

Data for this study was pulled from over 3,000 adults with an average age of 45 – most were white and over half were college educated. They were asked in a span of 18 years to rate how persistent they’ve been at working on their goals – these evaluations started in the 1990’s and ended in 2013.

It was found that those who were more goal-oriented and optimistic during the start of the evaluation in the 1990’s had the greatest reduction of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks over the span of the study. Those who also began the study with less severe mental health problems than others also had increased levels of perseverance.

“ ‘Our findings suggest that people can improve their mental health by raising or maintaining high levels of tenacity, resilience and optimism…aspiring toward personal and career goals can make people feel like their lives have meaning,’” stated Zainal.

Reference: American Psychological Association. (2019, May 2). Perseverance toward life goals can fend off depression, anxiety, panic disorders: Looking on the bright side also acts as a safeguard, according to 18-year study. ScienceDaily. Retrieved May 5, 2019 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2019/05/190502100852.htm