Indulge Yourself and Reduce Your Stress

Guideposts executive editor Amy Wong shares her secrets for keeping a positive outlook during tough economic times. 

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Amy Wong talks about positive thinking

Are these economic doldrums we’re stuck in taking a toll on your positive attitude? Mine too. I’m fortunate—I have a good job and little debt, and I’ve been able to up my donations to charity.

Still I find myself stressing about money more than usual, and acting in austerity mode when it comes to things like dinners out, travel, spa treatments. Sure, these are occasional indulgences even in the best of times, but I’ve cut out the last two almost entirely. You don’t really need a massage. You shouldn’t be spending money treating yourself, not in this economy. You should save it just in case… That’s my thinking.

Or it was, until I came across an article in the science section of The New York Times, a short piece about a recent study on the effects of massage. Participants got 45 minutes of either deep-tissue Swedish massage or light massage. Blood samples were taken before and after. Even the researchers were astounded by the results: Just a single session of massage significantly reduced the level of the stress hormone cortisol and boosted the level of the hormone oxytocin, which is linked to contentment and calmness. I always feel more relaxed after a rubdown but here was proof that massage actually relieves stress. And who doesn’t want less stress these days?

It’s hard to keep thinking positive when you’re worried about negative cash flow. Sometimes you need a little indulgence, especially one guaranteed to make you feel good. Go ahead, treat yourself! Guess where I’m headed as soon as I post this blog?

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