Feeling Stressed? So did Laura Ingalls Wilder

As an avid fan of Little House on the Prairie, I never thought I’d hear the name Laura Ingalls Wilder and stress in the same sentence. During my morning commute, I listened to Gretchen Rubin’s podcast Happier where she read a quote from Wilder’s book, Little House in the Ozarks, a collection of pieces that she wrote for regional newspapers and magazines. Keep in mind that she wrote this in 1924 when she lived on a farm in Missouri.

“We are so overwhelmed with things these days that our lives are all, more or less, cluttered. I believe it is this, rather than a shortness of time, that gives us that feeling of hurry and almost of helplessness. Everyone is hurrying and usually just a little late. Notice the faces of the people who rush past on the streets or on our country roads! They nearly all have a strained, harassed look and anyone you meet will tell you there is no time for anything anymore.”

Looks like modern life and technology aren’t the only causes of overwhelm. As I listened to this passage, nearly 100 years after it was written, I wondered where this feeling comes from. Could the answer to living a calmer and less harried life lie within ourselves?

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