It sounds so simple: Relax. Let go. Just breathe.
These mantras, while soothing, are difficult to embrace because most Americans are overworked, over-scheduled and generally stressed out.
The reality is that anxiety is a universal affliction affecting millions of Americans. And while most will admit to being under some kind of pressure — be it financial, work or family challenges — getting America to unplug and unload is proving to be a difficult task.
“Many of us have a certain appropriate nostalgia for a quality of life that has been lost,” Rev. Diane Kessler, retired executive director of the Massachusetts Council of Churches, told the Boston Globe in an interview. “Many of us remember when we went to church on Sunday morning and then had a family meal afterwards. In a 24/7 society, those rhythms and those patterns have been lost.”
Joyce Meyer, best-selling author, speaker and Bible teacher, agrees that the demands of modern life can be all-consuming, making it hard to mute distractions. In her new book, OVERLOAD: How to Unplug, Unwind, and Unleash Yourself from the Pressure of Stress, Meyer addresses this problem by identifying the catalysts of worry in your life, as well as offering practical, effective advice and wisdom from a scriptural standpoint that she believes is the answer to curing your stress.
“Nobody is immune to stress,” Meyer says. “But through exploring the inspiring insights of the Bible and calling on God’s strength to help you triumph over stress, you can achieve the joyful, peaceful life that is intended for you.”
Other ways that may help you regain some sense of control and generally decrease anxiety can be found below:
* Make your home a haven. Your home needs to be a place where you go to recuperate and rejuvenate for the next day. The space should be calm and harmonious.
* Take a moment. “There are thousands of ways you can relax. Whether it’s unwinding with music, reading a good book, taking a warm bath by candlelight, going for a walk or engaging in a sport you enjoy, you know what relaxation feels like and you know when it’s happening to you,” Meyer writes in OVERLOAD. “I strongly encourage you to make relaxation a part of your daily life.”
* Use your driving time or commuting time to calm down. This may seem like an oxymoron, but you’d be surprised at how easy it is to disconnect from daily pressures or work on the car ride home. Relax by listening to an audio book or singing along to your favorite music, and, if the weather permits, roll down the windows and let the sun and breeze carry your troubles away.