Wednesday, February 28, 2007


As I was listening to the McNews this morning (you know, those tiny snippets of info after they give the weather & traffic reports and before they give the weather & traffic reports), I heard a line that caught my attention. It went something like this:

“Studies have shown that in order to reduce anxiety people should relax.”

Was money spent to reach this extraordinarily insightful realization? The study was sponsored by some Association of Physicans Something Something (she said it too fast for me to catch and I can’t seem to find this pertinent news story online anywhere. Believe me, I looked.).

Five minutes later after a song and some more weather & traffic reporting, she repeated the line but this was the extended McNews so we got a few ways in which we might do said relaxing:

- Eat well
- Sleep well
- Avoid caffeine
- Watch less TV

The first three? Givens, I guess. If you don’t eat, you get antsy and shaky and irritable. If you don’t sleep, you get, well, antsy and shaky and irritable. (And tired.) I see their logic in avoiding caffeine, but if I avoid caffeine, that’s when I get antsy and shaky and irritable. Watch less TV? I don’t know about you, but that’s the one time I truly do relax. A perfect respite of escape.

But that’s not really the point. The point is no one needs a study to prove that in order to reduce anxiety you should relax. That’s a little like saying in order to rest you should sleep. In order to reduce hunger you should eat. But it’s only a little like that. Those “problems” are easy to remedy. Hunger + food = no more hunger. Anxiety + food = relaxed? Not so much. Being told to relax doesn’t mean you can, even if you follow the “directives.”

Marriage on the rocks? Grab yourself a burrito. About to lose your job? Have yourself a good solid 8 hours of sleep. Walking down a dark alley in a bad neighborhood? Don’t be drinking a diet Coke as you walk. Everything will be fine. It’s been studied. By doctors.