4 Tips For Managing Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in the C-Suite

How to manage the pressures of the C-Suite life

In his book Moppin’ Floors to CEO, Miller traces his own turbulent personal story, which includes bouts of childhood abuse (emotional and physical) and a stint in a psychiatric hospital. Despite his setbacks, Miller goes from mopping floors at a hotel to running a hospital to becoming CEO of his own business consulting firm. He credits investing in his emotional health as the key to his personal growth, happiness, and success. 

Through his personal story, Miller offers us a great example of how depression and success can exist in the same sentence. Indeed, sometimes some of our negative emotions can be turned into positive drivers. But the answer lies in properly acknowledging and addressing the need for more open acceptance and discussion of mental health in leadership positions.

When it comes to mental health, high-pressure roles and leadership traits, Dennis Miller has been there, done that. Here are four tips taken from his personal experience to help you and your colleagues manage the pressures of the C-Suite life:

1.  Don’t suffer alone.

This may seem like common sense, but far too many people are ashamed of admitting they are depressed and stressed out. Reach out to a close friend and confide in them; build a support system. You can also reach out to someone in your HR department, faith-based organization, or a local mental health center to ask for support.

Talk to your family about what is going on. Too many executives "don't want to worry" their family. What you don't understand is that the family can tell something is not right and they worry way more if you are not honest about the issues you are experiencing.

2. Learn to manage your stress.

Stress is a common condition of today’s world, however, when it leads to depression and anxiety it can interfere in your personal and professional responsibilities. Focus on those things in the workplace that you can control and you’ll greatly reduce the load you’re having to bear.

There are easy to learn and useful techniques to help you manage your stress. When you learn to control the way you think and your attitudes, together with practicing some mindful techniques, your stress level can become much more manageable.

3. Understand that depression is extremely common and very treatable.

It’s not a character flaw. There is still too much stigma in our society about mental health issues, but not that long ago, people who suffered from cancer also felt stigmatized. Times are changing.

Depression is the most common cause for executives to start drinking too much trying to self-medicate. The problem is that alcohol is also a depressant. Therefore, eventually it only compounds the issues.

Seek professional help and your depression will stop being this dark hole that seems to want to swallow you.

4. Try to maintain a balanced life.

Work is important, but you can’t be married to your job. Cultivate your intimate relationships, try to develop friendships, exercise and eat healthy foods, and take time off for vacations. We all need to de-stress ourselves on a regular basis. Don’t wait until Friday afternoon to plan your weekend, start much earlier in the week.

If you don't take time to de-stress, you will become less efficient at work, your concentration will diminish, you will explode with anger more easily, and, if not curtailed, you will develop physical and mental health issues.

Remember. . . 

Managing your mental health successfully is your number one task as a leader. The longer you keep yourself from getting the help you need to recover, the further you fall into emotional and behavioral danger and the harder it will be to come back. In the end, your intelligence, your work ethic, your professional success cannot protect you from mental phenomena that are larger than yourself. 


As a leader you control many things. Yet, you can't control what life throws at you or the actions and words of other people. Dr. Ada teaches how to create dramatic and lasting stress reduction for executives and their organizations. This is accomplished with a neuroscience-based process that effectively neutralizes specific stress reactions in your body and brain in about 10 minutes. The result is an immediate increase in mental and emotional clarity, physical relaxation, and openness to possibilities. When practiced, outcomes include improved team communication and relationships, more innovation, greater job satisfaction and less turnover.