Today is Labor Day in the United States, a national holiday that has come to mean many things since its original inception in 1882.
Celebrated on the first Monday in September, it is now often seen as the final day of the summer–the last long weekend before school gets underway. A day for picnics, family time, and relaxation.
It was first celebrated as a way of honoring the achievements and contributions of American workers to the economic success and ongoing well-being of our nation. But in this current economy, a day of work would be better than a holiday for many, with unemployment still a constant concern.
According to a study by the American Psychological Association the three top cited reasons for stress among Americans are:
3. The economy
Research by economists indicates that people who have experienced long-term unemployment–more than 25 weeks–”are 3 times more likely than people who have been employed throughout the past year to experience mental health issues for the first time.”
According to the CMHA (Center for Mental Health Awareness), your mental health relates to your:
- Ability to enjoy life (joy that’s grounded on your spiritual convictions can’t be taken away)
- Resilience (bouncing back, seeing the good where there appears to be the opposite)
- Balance (keeping things in a right perspective)
- Self-actualization (the ability to express your talents and do the work you were meant to do)
- Flexibility (remaining open and available for new opportunities)
These are all qualities that I relate to my spiritual well-being, something I monitor through prayer and my relationship to God. I’ve seen many times how prayer can bring a change in employment.
I have a friend who had almost reached rock bottom looking for employment. After nearly two years of searching, virtually no interviews, dried up job leads, and the threat of foreclosure looming he was looking for deeper spiritual answers. As a Christian Scientist, he was used to turning to God in prayer for answers to life's problems, but even that was beginning to seem worn out and empty to him. I agreed to pray with him, and as he daily built up his trust in God’s good and constant provision for his family and his future, things began to turn around. Within a month he had several interviews and soon he had a job offer that relocated his family to a new state and a good position in his field.
While it would seem that the majority of your day is about the work you do, keeping track of your mental space is something you can do every day, moment by moment. A prayer of gratitude, affirming your worth, turning to God’s infinite resources for supply, loving your neighbor, expecting good every day, lending a helping hand–this is a prayerful attitude that opens our eyes to new and existing opportunities.
A recent report on American Heart with Diane Sawyer highlighted an example of how the power of prayer and loving your neighbor can make all the difference in a person’s job search. A church opened its doors and offered regular counselling to packed rooms of people on the job hunt. For many, this turned their lives around. As Diane Sawyer put it, some have found “a bit of employment heaven in the American heart, right here on earth.”
Ingrid lives in Framingham, where she and her husband manage three busy kids, a Lab who's sniffed every trail at Callahan and a ragdoll cat. She blogs on spirituality and health and is also a Christian Science practitioner. You can see more on her website "Breaking Bread" at masshealthblog.com.