During my epic attic clean-out, of which you will hear more in up-coming weeks, I discovered a small booklet by Norman Vincent Peale titled, You Can Relax (I believe that it belonged to my grandmother Cameron). Here’s a picture of NVP relaxing at his desk.
Since my niece’s wedding is ONE WEEK AWAY and the intervening days are bound to be a little fraught (so much to do, so many people traveling!), I thought it timely to share some of Mr. Peale’s advice. It’s really pretty good. I won’t include it all, but here are some choice suggestions:
- Drain Your Mind. Use “the vacuum cleaner prayer” for this: “Dear Lord, by the power of Thy spirit draw now from the unseen crannies and crevices of my soul the dust of the world which has settled there.”
- Relax Muscle Tension. This involves some stretching and breathing exercises.
- Don’t Take Tomorrow to Bed with You. Don’t think about what you have to do; repeat the Bible verse, Matthew 6:34 “sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.”
- Practice the Presence. When you wake up in the middle of the night, assume that the Lord wants to tell you something. Lie there quietly and when He has spoken go back to sleep.
- Tranquilize Your Thoughts. This does not involve drink or drugs. Rather, NVP suggests that you hum or sing a tranquil hymn with words like “Drop thy still dews of quietness, till all our strivings cease.”
- Relax by Positive Thinking. Before you go to bed affirm, “I am going to enjoy a sound and restful night and will waken with renewed energy and eager zest for tomorrow’s activities.” When you wake up in the morning reaffirm your intentions for the day.
- Drop Relaxing Bible Verses into your Mind. Whenever you start to feel anxious, repeat “Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him: fret not thyself” (Psalm 37:7), or something like it.
- Add up Your Blessings. Remind yourself of all that you have to be thankful for.
- Become the Expert Forgetter. Don’t hold grudges — let them go. Forget all annoys you.
- Rocked in the Everlasting Arms. “Cast thy burden upon the Lord, and he shall sustain thee” (Psalm 55:22).
There. That’s better, isn’t it? Don’t you feel more relaxed? Many people find Norman Vincent Peale schmaltzy and out-of-date these days — or at least embarrassingly religious — but personally I think it’s far superior to most self-help advice (aka pseudo-mystical, self-indulgent, New Age navel gazing). Just saying.
Stay tuned for pre-nuptial excitement and remember, all is well and all manner of things are well. And don’t forget to cultivate an “eager zest” for life!