We live in a time of great worry. Our minds, hearts and stomachs have trouble settling, slowing down and finding peace. From one perspective, we have good cause for concern. The economy’s unpredictability stirs anxiety about our ability to provide for our families in the most basic ways: food, shelter, clothes. And every day a new report informs us that the food we are eating will, in all likelihood, make us sick, if not eventually kill us.
It’s no surprise then that many are finding comfort in their old friend alcohol or marijuana, or whatever addiction numbs the depression and anxiety that has settled in. But this provides no long-term solution; it simply distracts you for a little while.
But the real solution is simple–literally. Slow down. Take a deep breath and begin to adopt both a healthier perspective and healthier coping skills.
Focus on the simple things that still exist in our world today. We have trees we can stand under, flowers we can see and smell, and air we can breathe in deeply. And we can remind ourselves of our ability to choose our response to whatever is happening in our life. We can embrace anxiety and depression and addiction, or we can embrace the opportunity to re-evaluate our priorities and values, says Meredith Watkins, Editor of ReecoveryView.com.
Having less money can be a great blessing when it forces you to see more clearly what you need and what you can do without. Less stuff actually equals more freedom, because in some sense, our possessions do enslave us. Blackberries demand our constant attention, taking it away from our families and friends; enormous homes demand our time and energy at work to earn more money to pay the mortgage. And while there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these things, the simple things are what bring the most joy and peace.
Challenge yourself to simplify your life where you can: go to a farmer’s market and make a home-cooked meal. Better yet, plant a garden. Turn off the TV and play games with your kids or read a book. Slow down, just a little, and take the time to truly be present in your life.
Sherry Gaba, LCSW, is a Psychotherapist and Life Coach in private practice and on Celebrity Rehab on VH1. She is also the author of “The Law of Sobriety: Attracting Positive Energy for a Powerful Recovery.”