089 – Depression Busters: Taking Action Manages Anxiety

Failure to take action raises my anxiety levels through the roof. Tasks unfinished, not started, and procrastinated cause an overwhelming feeling. When things are not moving forward the way we feel they should, we start to feel hopeless and depressed. Today, we talk about how the failure to take action on important things can actually push us deeper into depression. 

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Depression Busters: Taking Action Manages Anxiety

Failure to take action raises my anxiety levels through the roof. Tasks unfinished, not started, and procrastinated cause an overwhelming feeling. When things are not moving forward the way we feel they should, we start to feel hopeless and depressed. Today, we talk about how the failure to take action on important things can actually push us deeper into depression. 

Depression causes hopelessness, hopelessness causes listlessness, and not taking care of important business causes the hopelessness, and the depression to grow. 

I am an achiever and my expectations of myself are usually too high, but when I genuinely let things slide or don’t take care of business, it causes a battle with sleeplessness, and peaks anxiety. 

We talk much about sabbath, rest, sleep, and living a healthy pace. In fact, we talk about those things a bit in depth in episodes 87 and 88. Most leaders have a tendency to over do things, so a constant admonition to rest is important, but there are times when we simply fail to give attention to things that must be done. 

The reason I’m careful with this subject is because most leaders I know work really heard, even if they sometimes lack focus. They are sincere in genuinely trying to move good things forward. Anytime we talk about not working hard enough, those who are really pushing take it to heart and feel self-condemned and those who do have a lazy streak lack the self awareness to recognize themselves as the one described. 

This is about more than managing schedules, doing our best with the available time and the demands of tasks, and keeping life in balance. This is about big tasks, and sometimes small tasks, looming over us because we have not taken action. 

  • We’ve procrastinated
  • We’ve been afraid to start
  • and the one I most struggle with… We simply do not know where to start — so we don’t

Significance

Significance, purpose, a sense of accomplishment are vital to a sense of well being. If I’m not accomplishing something I feel to be significant, if I am twisting in the wind, it will start to work on me. 

Serious depression can result from a sense of aimlessness. I’ve been told a few times recently of the challenges of the elderly in feeling insignificant, in feeling they are not making a meaningful contribution. Those who work with the aged have mentioned this to me a few times lately, and how it leads to depression in them. We talked a lot about significance in episode 79.

Self-Leadership

Being “self-employed” (a term in my situation that needs much qualification), I was challenged the other day with a statement that sometimes when you are self-employed you have the worst boss you’ve ever had. Self-leadership is one of the most important aspects of leadership. If we cannot lead ourselves well we cannot lead others well. Hence, “Calibrate YOUR life and lift those you love and lead.”

Here are some things I am learning about self-leadership

  • We must manage both rest and activity. There needs to be more activity than rest. 
  • “Head-clearing” should be for the purpose of gaining focus and laying out a strategy for forward movement.
  • Listening must be followed by doing … Our Actions, Practices, and Habits.
  • Strategy must beget execute, evaluate, establish
  • Intimacy must lead to incarnation

When we do not lead ourselves forward, when we aren’t accomplishing the things in our hearts, or even significantly moving toward them, it creates a “hope-deferred.” A hope deferred makes the heart sick. 

A Deferred Hope

“Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.” Proverbs [13:12] ESV

Dreams pursued, even when they turn out different than we originally planned, bring LIFE. The analogy of the “tree of life” reminds us of a nurturing tree that bears fruit in season to enrich us and give us everything we need for life and godliness. 

A stagnant dream that you never “go for,” you never take action upon, will make your heart sick. Better to resolve that you will never go for it than to delay action decade after decade until it is too late. 

Think of a dream, a goal, a plan that you actively pursued. Think of the life it brought you to just go for it. 

When we fail to take action week after week, year after year, we grow despondent. 

When we have critical tasks that must be performed, and yet day after day we put them off, it creates anxiety. 

Our front porch was sinking. I delayed fixing it for two years because I was afraid of what I was going to get into. I was afraid of what I would find when I tore it out. I was afraid the problem would be too big or too costly for me to deal with. Not dealing with it did not solve the problem. Not dealing with it did not change the reality. The only thing that delaying could possibly accomplish was allowing the problem to get worse. Most of the time when we ignore things, try to wish them away, try to just not think about them, the problem only gets worse. As we see it worsening our anxiety grows, yet we don’t do anything to solve the problem. 

Last week I tore our porch out, understood the problem, and dealt with the problem. It is almost finished, and the front stoop is forever (and I do mean forever) checked off of my list of things that hang over my head. 

When you get an entire plates of things hanging over your head, it creates anxiety and anxiety leads to depression. Take action and resolve the anxiety, one way or the other. 

Better to face the challenging truth than to let it hang in the darkness. 

Inactivity Leads to Depression

FAILURE TO FACE AND DEAL WITH THE THINGS WE FEAR WILL PLUNGE US INTO DESPAIR. 

In the grief process I told my counselor that I was afraid of silence, so I made sure there was noise, to the point of sleeping with a sound machine generating white noise. My counselor said to me, “We do not run from our fears, we face them.”

Our inactivity sometimes has nothing to do with laziness, it more often has to do with 

  • not knowing what to do next, and so we do nothing
  • Fear that paralyzes us, and we just cannot press forward because we are terrified
  • Ever analyzing and never taking action because we feel we need more preparation and information. 

Calibration Tools… Calibrating Our Lives and Lifting Those We Love and Lead

#1 – Find one thing you’ve been putting off that you know you simply MUST tackle… then, take it on. Do something right now, today, to move yourself in the direction of facing and resolving the problem. 

Finally… 

We need to take action. Failure to take action on our dreams, on essentials, on the things that will keep us on track causes anxiety, which cause feelings of despair, hopelessness, and depression. Take action, take care of business, have a plan and work your plan. Even if things do not turn out the way you hoped, taking care of business with diligence gives us a sense of well being. 

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