Getting Clear When Depressed or Anxious: Eight Questions


When feeling depressed or anxious it is especially difficult to meet the day's large and small demands.

An inner world that is sad, numb, chaotic, irritable, or fearful makes choosing the next best step nearly impossible.

Each of us has to find ways of coping - of quieting or enlivening our inner world - that work for us.

It helps some people to ask themselves questions that pinpoint the stressors making their symptoms worse.

Eight Clarifying Questions

Am I stretching my work time (e.g., employment, school) to the limits of mental or physical exhaustion? All work and no play not only makes people dull, it depletes their energy and inner resources.

Am I staying in a situation that is over-demanding or emotionally stressful? If we cannot change a situation, or tolerate it well, it may be time to walk away.

Have I been experiencing stress that I’ve not addressed? Take a mental inventory of your work, leisure, social, family, spiritual, and education/personal interest domains to uncover unaddressed stress.

Am I allowing myself to be shackled by other’s attitudes or opinions? Those who care about us may fear our personal growth—their cautions and anxieties can hold us back. Or, we may be fearful of what others will think of us if we follow our inner dictates.

Am I over-immersing myself in chaotic, distressing world events? Especially if you are a sensitive soul, take frequent breaks from the news media, and turn your attention to what is inspirational or beautiful.

Am I getting enough sleep? We all have trouble sleeping sometimes, but make sure you are giving yourself ample opportunities for restful slumber.

Am I getting enough quality foods, pure water, sunlight, fresh air, and physical activity? If you are not getting enough of these essentials, take small daily steps to enjoy more of them.

Am I keeping a good balance of relaxation, alone time, and social interaction? The balance will be different for everyone, but most of us need doses of all three.

If taking action in response to these questions seems impossible, your anxiety or depression may need the aid of a doctor or mental health professional. Do not hesitate—ask for help.

Inspiration: Chopra
Photo credit: Paul Falardeau


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