I like to consider the following when I feel something is taking a mental toll: Is worrying useful? It’s useful if it’s the first time I’m worrying/considering what my contingency plans are, like how I can store water and what my hurricane evacuation plan is if I’m in a coastal area. However if it’s me ruminating to the umpteenth time, contemplating the worst case scenario, which I can’t prepare for or mitigate more than I already have as I stare at my bedroom ceiling unable to fall asleep-that worrying is no longer useful- it’s detrimental to my mental health. I find asking myself this question is a great way for me to recognize the pattern I’m falling into so I can do something else (healthy distraction, other work). It’s a useful tool for me to realize that worrying is only useful if I can do something to shift the situation that I haven’t already done. Am I resisting the reality of what is? This may seem less down to earth of a question, but I view this as an important way to assess how much of my mental state (and emotions) I’m mapping onto what’s actually happening in reality. This question lets me get under the story I’m telling myself about a situation and see more clearly and calmly what’s going on. The more I resist the reality of what is (by for example, getting frustrated that things aren’t a certain way or aren’t coming together how I want in order to feel secure/prepared) the worse I feel mental health wise. It’s very freeing to realize that a situation “just is what it is” and then move forward choosing not to feed into the anger, resentment, anxiety grief etc that arise over a situation. For example: My electricity may be out due to a tropical storm and that is the reality of the situation, but I don’t have to buy into getting angry/frustrated about it, that is a choice. Anger or frustration is likely going to come up (and that’s ok, I’m not arguing for repression here) if I don’t have a generator and can’t cook using my stove or lose food I have stored in a freezer that thaws but I can see the emotion for what it is and choose to not make myself more miserable by feeding into it. Feeding into it being the mental game of convincing myself I have every right to feel this way as if I’m the only one suffering in a situation which makes me more angry and may mentally look like this: why does the worst always happen to me, if insert-some-entity/individual/organization-to-blame-here would just get their act together I wouldn’t be in this mess, I’m so mad I live somewhere I can’t have my own generator etc. Going back to the first question-this kind of emotional rumination isn’t useful to me in the situation and if I fed into it I could end up getting myself so worked up I’m careless and end up in an even worse situation. It doesn’t mean negative emotions never come up for me-just that I don’t cling to them and treat them as if they are the actual truth of the situation which would be resisting the reality of the situation. I see them, I note them, I try not to buy/feed into them and make myself suffer more. Basically asking this question lets me not get dragged around so much by my emotions and helps me be less reactive and keep a cooler head.