Gain Control Over Depression and Anxiety

Need natural anxiety relief?

Does this pic­ture feel famil­iar?

I recent­ly had an illu­mi­nat­ing con­ver­sa­tion with a top busi­ness com­mu­ni­ca­tion coach.  She helps high-per­form­ing invest­ment bankers deal effec­tive­ly with feel­ings of anx­i­ety, fear, and depres­sion – what­ev­er emo­tions come up – so they can con­tribute more effec­tive­ly to their com­pa­ny.

She has such a deep under­stand­ing of these issues that she’s able to express com­pli­cat­ed and impor­tant ideas sim­ply.  I love that.  I’ve asked her to write an arti­cle for me – some day I hope she will. In the mean­time I’ll do my best to para­phrase what she had to say.

Two sides, same coin?

Depres­sion and anx­i­ety are two com­mon neg­a­tive men­tal atti­tudes that peo­ple adopt when under stress, she says.  In a way, they’re vari­a­tions of the same theme.

What these two men­tal states have in com­mon is you’re feel­ing a loss of con­trol over your sit­u­a­tion.  Not sur­pris­ing­ly, anx­i­ety and depres­sion are often found to alter­nate in the same per­son.

If you’re spend­ing too much of your day feel­ing depressed, anx­ious, or both, you’re not func­tion­ing effec­tive­ly at work or in your per­son­al life.  And your health suf­fers too.

The sober­ing truth is that there are always aspects of your sit­u­a­tion over which you have no con­trol.  But there are oth­er areas – per­haps small ones — over which you do have con­trol.  The first step is to iden­ti­fy those areas that you can influ­ence.  Then, rather than regret­ting the past or fear­ing the future, it’s fair­ly straight­for­ward to take action in one or more of those areas.

Natural anxiety relief — depression too

Tak­ing rea­son­able action is the anti­dote to anx­i­ety and depres­sion.  If you’ve under­stood your sit­u­a­tion from a more bal­anced per­spec­tive and then tak­en con­trol of some piece of the sit­u­a­tion — even a small piece — to try to move toward your goals, you’ll essen­tial­ly be immune to the neg­a­tive effects of depres­sion or anx­i­ety.

Masters of the universe?

Some peo­ple aren’t prone to anx­i­ety or depres­sion.  Instead, they have an oppo­site men­tal dis­tor­tion – the atti­tude that they’re mas­ters of their own uni­verse, and that every­thing that hap­pens is the direct result of their actions.  This illu­sion is just as inju­ri­ous as the feel­ing that you have zero con­trol.  Peo­ple who view them­selves as “mas­ters of the uni­verse” can be sub­ject to grandios­i­ty and arro­gance when cir­cum­stances are work­ing in their favor, or be plunged into depres­sion or addic­tive behav­ior when life, as it inevitably will, takes a neg­a­tive turn.

Anx­i­ety, depres­sion, grandios­i­ty, and addic­tive behav­ior all have one thing in com­mon:  they dis­tract you from your expe­ri­ence of being in the present moment.

Prac­tice these three sim­ple steps:

  1. Acknowl­edge your sit­u­a­tion
  2. Iden­ti­fy some aspect of your sit­u­a­tion over which you have con­trol.  If you’re feel­ing tru­ly over­whelmed, you may have to start by tak­ing con­trol over some­thing as fun­da­men­tal as the rate and rhythm of your breath­ing
  3. Take a sim­ple action to enhance your sit­u­a­tion in one of the areas over which you have con­trol

If you prac­tice this sim­ple tool you’ll find that you’re engaged in the moment, with­out being over­ly dis­tract­ed by regret over the past or fear of the future.  You’re pre­pared with the opti­mal mind­set to deal effec­tive­ly with what­ev­er life is throw­ing your way.  You’ll be more effec­tive in every area of your life.  And your health will improve too.


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About Ronald Lavine, D.C.

Dr. Lavine has more than thirty five years' experience helping patients alleviate pain and restore health using diverse, scientifically-based manual therapy and therapeutic exercise and alignment methods. His website,, provides more information about his approach. Please contact him at or at 212-400-9663.
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