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Editor's column: Therapy comes in all forms

Want to feel better? For starters, give yourself a break from all the crap going on in Washington and the horror transpiring under the dome.

October 19, 2013
By Per Peterson , Marshall Independent

We all gripe about how stressful and hectic are lives are, that there's no time to slow down, relax and enjoy things, if only for a little while. Life does seem more hectic these days, which flies in the face of technological advances. Cell phones and emails are supposed to make our lives more convenient, yet it turns out that the more connected we are, the more stressed we become. And while we're on the subject of technology, don't you find it strange that social media is actually making everyone more anti-social? Kind of oxymoronic, no?

But there's a way out - nothing permanent, just some things you can do to enjoy your existence and get more out of life. And it won't cost you a thing. Other than sleeping, which we learned this week can cleanse your brain of garbage and clutter, try these things in the coming weeks and you will find yourself loving life more than you ever had - just in time for the holidays and all the stress that accompanies them:

Every time you get an email from someone other than a friend or co-worker, unsubscribe! Don't even think about it. This is the equivalent to the do-not-call list, which we all know hardly works any more. It's like putting a padlock on your mailbox outside. Unsubscribing only takes a second and it will save you poring through scads of worthless mass emails.

Stop watching CNN. This is not a knock against CNN - although I have issues with them - it's just a way to avoid the endless coverage of the shutdown and ceiling debt. You think it's over, but it's not, and CNN won't let you forget about it. Talk about beating a dead horse/elephant. Local networks provide more than enough coverage of all things politics; why put yourself through the mind-numbing rhetoric spewed forth 22 hours a day if you don't have to? Keeping pace with politics is healthy, but you don't want to overdose.

For that matter, stop watching the Vikings. Maybe this doesn't apply to you, but if you're a fan, give yourself a break. As difficult as it might seem to not tune in, it's what's best for you. Just try it for a couple games. It's like smoking - getting it out of your system is the first step in quitting. This isn't bandwagoning as much as it is a healthy lifestyle change. Maybe you can set some guidelines if you can't quit cold turkey. Like, if they're playing a horrible team like they are Monday night. Yah, you could tune in because chances are they will at least compete, but don't blame me if they lose late and you find yourself still awake at 11:30 Monday night picking up the pieces of the lamp you just chucked across the room.

Do something on Halloween, even if you don't have kids. Halloween isn't the most popular holiday, but compared to Thanksgiving and Christmas, it's easily the least stressful. "What should I do if I don't have a kid," you ask? Just go for a walk and watch the other kids have fun. Dress up - no one will know it's you anyway. Go to a bar that's hosting a costume party and watch people get messed up. Watch a scary movie or two. Halloween is an escape.

Take a walk in a park before winter hits (you can even choose a national park now that the shutdown has been lifted!). Pick a cool, crisp day and just walk. Don't worry about snow coming, don't think about your cruddy job, don't worry about shutdowns and debt ceilings and horrible sports teams. Just walk. Bring the dog if you have one, and if you don't, bring your significant other. If you have neither, who cares, just walk in the park. There's a reason that's a figure of speech.

Clean out your vehicle. I know what you're thinking - this doesn't sound like much fun, and you're right, it isn't. But seriously, look at the passenger's side. Look in the back seat. It's a mess, right? It's gross. And it's depressing. You'd be surprised how nice it is to get into a vehicle that is clean for the first time in 14 months. Again, cheap therapy.

And while you're at it, clean out your closet, too. Same principles apply as with No. 6. C'mon, you have clothes in there you haven't worn in a year, maybe longer. Admit it. Get rid of them. Bring them to Goodwill and you'll feel doubly better.

Turn your cell phone off. Just try it, it will be OK. If you can go 20 minutes without getting the shakes, that's a start. If you can go one hour without going mad, you're well on your way to peace. If you can go a day ah, who am I kidding, no one can go a day. Try that walk in the park, sans phone.

Open a scrapbook and look through old photos. I've tried this; it works. It's guaranteed to make you laugh (maybe cry) and bring up old memories. And old memories are usually good ones.



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