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Why Mental Health Counselors Say It’s Okay to Quit

Living a better life can start with quitting.

Winners never quit and quitters never win. Or so we’ve been told. But that old adage may be rather misleading. In fact, most mental health counselors agree that not only is quitting perfectly natural and acceptable, it can also be beneficial. If you’re considering quitting a job, ending a relationship, stopping a personal project, or ceasing anything else that’s taking up your time and/or influencing your life, here’s what you need to know.

Quitting Can Be Hard

If we’re in a dead-end job or a destructive relationship, deciding to quit shouldn’t be difficult. However, we have a psychological quirk that can keep us committed to bad jobs, bad relationships, and failing projects long after it should have become clear that we’re going nowhere. This is called “escalation of commitment to a failing course of action,” and it can influence all kinds of decisions, both large and small.* It’s why we tell ourselves that, if we just suffer a little longer in a bad job, we’ll finally get that promotion that doesn’t exist, or why we double down on a bad relationship by planning a big trip that’s certain to end in a big argument, or why we keep trying to get good at golf even though we don’t really like it and are still terrible at it after years of effort.

Why Mental Health Counselors Say It’s Okay to Quit

Simply put, we’re geared to keep going even when failure is all but inevitable. To get past this impulse, we have to understand all the ways quitting can be a much better option than continuing forward.

Quitting Can Be Beneficial

If you choose to quit a job you hate or a relationship that’s clearly failing (or anything else that’s negatively consuming your time and energy), you can improve your life in multiple ways. Quitting can help you gain:

Better Health

Doing something you dislike—particularly working in a bad job—can cause a lot of stress. And stress can lead directly to negative health consequences. Needless to say, getting away from the stress can help you stay healthier.

More Personal Time

Ever feel like you don’t have time to just relax and enjoy life? Maybe that’s because you’re committed to too many things you don’t like doing. By giving up a hobby you no longer enjoy or quitting a job that requires endless overtime in favor of a less time-consuming job, you can gain the personal time you crave.

A Chance to Reinvigorate

Bad jobs, hurtful relationships, and joyless tasks can make life seem less meaningful. Quitting some or all of the things that are negatively affecting your mood and sense of purpose can give you the opportunity to reinvigorate and find more meaning in life.

New Opportunities

Of all the reasons to quit, new opportunities are one of the best. A new job can revitalize your career. Being single can spark your social life. Giving up golf for something you’re better at can improve your sense of self-worth. Putting down that boring book can free up the time to discover a book you’ll love. There’s only so much time in a day and we have only so much energy to devote to our lives. Quitting the things that are holding us back can allow us to find the things that will lift us up.

You Can Learn More about Mental Health With an Online Counseling Degree

If you’re interested in mental health and would like to help others learn how to improve their lives, you should consider earning a counseling degree online. By choosing an online degree program rather than a traditional campus-based program, you can give yourself the flexibility you need to earn your degree from home and on a schedule that can let you keep working full time. Online learning makes earning an advanced degree more possible than ever before.

The best online universities have numerous mental health degrees to choose from, including an MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Of all the available online programs, a clinical mental health master’s program can give you the best base of knowledge for a career in mental health counseling. Through this online master’s degree program, you can learn about the latest counseling theories, evidence-based research, and tools for preventing, diagnosing, and treating mental health disorders.

When you enroll in a clinical mental health online program, you can earn the kind of master’s degree than can help you advance or launch a mental health counseling career. In fact, it could be just what you need to quit a dead-end job and find one you love.

Walden University is an accredited institution offering an online MS in Clinical Mental Health Counseling degree program. Expand your career options and earn your degree in a convenient, flexible format that fits your busy life.

*J. Brockner, The Escalation of Commitment to a Failing Course of Action: Toward Theoretical Progress, The Academy of Management Review, on the internet at

Walden University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission,