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Depression, Anxiety and Being in the Way of Your Own Success

Not fulfilling your capabilities and life’s dreams  is one of the biggest reasons for finding yourself unhappy and empty feeling. It can also be the root cause of some anxieties and depressions. Whether it is emotionally or professionally, when you know you are not living up to your potential it can actually cause your brain a great deal of distress.

If your brain is craving more stimulation than what you are giving it it will look for things to focus on. This is not always in your best interest as what it grabs onto may be unpleasant worries, an intense focus on fearful things or ruminating on unfortunate past events. It may sound weird but either you control your brain or its going to control you. You have to make the conscious effort to give it a focus, goals, challenges, rests when necessary and proper fuel. Good brains need proper care or they get a little sideways, causing you needless emotional problems.

Having a lower level job than you are capable of, tolerating toxic or abusive relationships or allowing others to make important decisions for you are all examples of not living up to your potential. There are few individuals who are OK with that over time and whose brains don’t rebel on them at some point, usually by developing some form of anxiety or depression.

You may not trust your own abilities and strengths, and instead find yourself trudging through life with no direction that fits your personality. You may be experiencing  poor self-esteem and a lack of purpose. You may be unsure of your capabilities, and may resist trying to achieve due to a fear of failure. You may have experienced some type of failure in the past and see any future attempts as futile. The belief that you will continue to experience a never-ending pattern of defeat may dominate your mind and may be reflected in your choice of schools, careers, friends and partners.

You may find yourself looking in the mirror and labeling yourself in a negative fashion. What a way to start the day! Your insecurities may keep you limited to experiences where you feel comfortable or in control. You may have a very fragile ego that has been splintered by negative interactions with a dysfunctional family or others. You may have been told that you are stupid or incapable and therefore do not believe in your abilities. It is likely that only you see yourself through this lens, your abilities to thrive are probably very clear to others.

You may be so fearful of the world around you that you don’t even try to do anything other than what is required to get through the day.  Or, you may be so depressed you don’t even feel like trying. Attention problems may be present and keep you unfocused. You may lack persistence. There are a myriad of reasons why you may be getting in your own way  as any or all of these difficulties can stand in the way of your emotional and professional success.

On the flip side, sometimes a deeply psychological issue is not the problem at all. Not understanding the value of setting goals that move you toward a brighter future,  just living day-to-day and not making plans or setting a path will also interfere with your success.  You may simply not be aware of the success toolset that others use and that achieving goals no matter what they are feels good. If your parents were not able to teach you this you may just not have learned it yet.  Everyone likes to feel good about him or herself and accomplishing things is a good way to achieve this feeling.

If you are not achieving at the level you would like or are experiencing vague depression or anxiety it is likely that you are engaging in some of the thought processes listed above. You may be in the middle of a life where you have a dull job or poor quality relationships. It may be time to switch things up! To help you start this process I developed a worksheet, How to Break Free from 12 Dysfunctional Thought Patterns … and a handy chart to help you track your progress.

Grab your copy and start designing and enjoying the life you were meant to live.

Feel Good For Life!

Depression, Anxiety and Being in the Way of Your Own Success

Audrey Sherman, Ph.D.

Audrey Sherman is a psychologist, coach, speaker and author of the book Dysfunction Interrupted-How to Quickly Overcome Depression, Anxiety and Anger Starting Now. She is an expert in helping others to transform their lives by learning the elements of emotional success and overcoming the emotional baggage and dysfunctional patterns that keep them stuck in unhappy and unproductive lives, relationships and careers. She currently works with clients in person or via Skype or telephone. To learn more about Dr. Sherman, her coaching and workshops you can visit her website,

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APA Reference
Sherman, A. (2016). Depression, Anxiety and Being in the Way of Your Own Success. Psych Central. Retrieved on April 4, 2020, from


Last updated: 29 Oct 2016
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