Millennials, who came of age after 1999, are now being called “Generation Stress.” That’s because for the last three years, the American Psychological Association’s research on stress found this demographic to be the most stressed in America.
Self-help books abound for even the most anxious Millennial that offer suggestions as to how to deal with factors that impact their lives – from work-life balance, to fitness and diet, to marriage and home buying. The latest addition being adult colouring books to help foster a quiet mind!
The corporate world is also paying attention to mental well being, as it becomes increasingly clear how key it is to doing our best at all levels. It’s no surprise employers are now offering classes in mindfulness practices to counteract the lost labour due to employees taking stress leave – a cost of billions of dollars a year. Self-help books often accompany these offerings as well.
But a new study from the University of Montreal finds readers of self-help books become even more stressed!
We are all looking for ways to help ease stress. Not just the Millennial generation, but others feel too that the pace of life has picked up speed, partly due to advances in technology that keep us in constant connectivity.
The self-help bookshelves offer a wide range of advice on how to change the way we think about the problems we face – the concept of trying to improve our mind to affect the body‘s condition certainly isn’t new.
And for some people, a “positive thinking” approach can help them manage their stress and anxiety. Yet, it takes more than that to develop a deep-seated trust that we can expect good health and good outcomes in life and, thus, feel consistently at peace.
Understanding that our well-being isn’t ultimately a struggle between the mental and the physical that it appears to be is key.
I have found over the years that my peace of mind is not randomly affected by conditions around me but more on my growing perspective on the goodness of God in my life. Learning that our well-being is but a quality of God that is innate to our being, raises our health expectations to a whole new level.
This concept was pivotal in the published account of a young woman, suddenly left to manage the business on her own when her business partner relocated out of state. Overwhelmed with the stress of making management decisions alone and learning new tasks, Gina became so worried and anxious that it resulted in sleepless nights.
When this life-challenge arose, Gina turned to her “self-help” book, the Bible, and took heart with Jesus’ words, “With God all things are possible.”
“The more I resolved to lean on God instead of my own ability,” she writes, “the more clearly it appeared to me that I could accomplish what I needed to do. God’s sustaining power was the source of my strength.” Over the transition she reminded herself to let go of self-will and perceive God’s harmonious control of all activities.
She eventually learned the needed skills to continue the business and managed successfully on her own. Nurturing her relationship with God completely lifted her out of any feelings of stress, and her sleep, once again, was peaceful.
This Biblical promise from Isaiah captures perfectly this idea of reframing “self-help” as an ongoing process of trusting our loving Father, God, to guide our steps: “You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.” (Isa. 26:3 NIV)
This article is published throughout Ontario in Metroland Media online editions, such as the Brampton Guardian.