Can You WIN When You Are Depressed?


Is it possible that the acronym W.I.N. can help when you are feeling depressed? If W.I.N. stands for “what’s important now,” the answer is yes.

Whatever situation we are in, whatever emotion is being felt, however light or dark our mood, it is helpful to ask ourself, “What’s important now?” By turning our attention to what’s important we are narrowing our options down to essentials.

Down To Essentials

If we are driving, the most important thing is to watch the road and the other drivers. If with a friend, it is important to be present and give them our undivided attention. If we are in a black hole of depression, an important thing is to keep ourself safe.

Naturally, what you decide is important will depend on what you value. If you value business over friendship, you may choose to send and receive business texts while having dinner with a friend. Yet, many of us will, if we base our answer to the W.I.N. question on what we value most, turn our attention to something that nurtures and protects life, love, and relationships.

On some occasions, what is important now will be relaxing, doing nothing, playing, goofing-off, or day dreaming. Other times it will be getting something necessary accomplished such as buying groceries, doing laundry, or preparing taxes. It might be important to simply pay attention to whatever you are currently doing so you can do your best, or savor the moment.

Symptom Relief

As you might have gathered, acting on what is important now is a stress reliever because you are filtering out, or letting go of, non-essentials. This quiets the mind and in turn our nervous system. It may even calm symptoms of anxiety.

When you are depressed, what is important now might be calling a friend to chat, eating a nutritious lunch, taking a shower, taking a nap, going for a walk, getting what is necessary done at work, making it to your therapy appointment, or calling a suicide prevention hotline.

Thinking of the word W.I.N., and deciding what is important now, is very helpful on days when you feel scattered, at loose ends, overwhelmed, and indecisive. Ask yourself, “What’s important now?” Then, do that one thing.

Inspired By: Mayo Clinic
Photo credit: tamckile / flickr creative commons


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