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Monday was World Mental Health Awareness Day and that fact, plus two articles in Newsweek magazine, inspired this post:

1) Hooked ON HYPE – Antidepressants work NO BETTER than sugar pills for most of the 43 million Americans who take them.

2) How to Beat the Anxiety Epidemic—Start With Your Body, Not Your Head 

Chip Eichelberger, CSP, a friend and speaking colleague wrote an excellent article on LinkedIn.

Depression, anxiety, and other mental health-related issues can be very serious. However, after reading recent Newsweek articles it made me wonder if it’s really true that people are not actually benefiting from medications, isn’t it worth exploring a different approach?

I’m proud to be highly motivated and driven, but I’ll admit to being an overachiever occasionally, which can lead to times of anxiousness.

If you have never felt anxious, congratulations! You are either living your life with a very proactive approach, are very cautious about how much you put on your plate, or have a higher tolerance for stress than many of us do.

Anxiety and depression are real concerns for a lot of people, but the large increase in the number of those reporting these conditions should cause us to pause and question the over-prescribing of medication. Are all people who experience anxiety or depression in need of medication? Is taking drugs long-term the best prescription for all who suffer? Have we become too dependent on medication?

If your case isn’t a severe one, instead of reaching for a pill, a bottle, or another way to medicate, you might consider the following:

1.     Don’t pile so much on your plate. Adopt the mantra “Do less, better.”

2.     Think “what if” to prepare for as many scenarios as you might reasonably face. For example, when you are traveling, consider possible situations that could come up, and ask yourself how you can best prepare for each “what if.”

3.     Have checklists for repeatable tasks that occur regularly. Some of my packing checklists include pictures as well as a list of all the items I will need when traveling, giving a presentation, doing a triathlon, going snowboarding, etc. All of these activities are much more stress-free when I’ve packed everything I need to make the event successful. Pack in plenty of time so that the day before your trip isn’t stressful.

4.     Strive for completion over perfection. Often finished is better than perfect.

5.     Pause, take a deep breath and find a temporary diversion. Some ideas include:

  • Listen to your favorite artists, or tune into the SIRUS XM station that plays your most favorite songs
  • Exercise regularly
  • Get outside (I talk about this a lot, but it’s way more fun and sometimes even more effective than medication)
  • Take an art class or music lesson
  • Go out to dinner at a favorite restaurant
  • Commit to eating healthy daily
  • Close your eyes and take a mental vacation to your favorite travel destination…


Mental illness is real, and medication can certainly be helpful; it just may not be necessary for every situation. First, cover the basics of eating well, sleeping well, exercising, guarding your time, and pausing for regular mental breaks.

I’m not a doctor, but I have experienced anxiousness and sleeplessness, likely the product of a highly active and creative brain. So, my advice first to myself, and then to anyone who has experienced these episodes is this: Be sure to seek medical help when you need it but try the basics of healthy living first.

#Pausitivity #LeadershipDevelopment #HealthyLiving #WorldMentalHealthDay

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