A Portrait of a Lady can Help Relieve Anxiety

by Rachel Baker on September 27, 2013

Ella Berthoud and Susan Elderkin, authors of The Novel Cure, recommend reading Henry James’s The Portrait of a Lady to relieve feelings of anxiety.

Of the 14 causes of anxiety that we have identified,* the first chapter of The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James can be expected to ameliorate 10. Opening as it does with a description of the civilized and serene institution of afternoon tea in an English country garden—complete with “mellow” late-afternoon light, long shadows, teacups held “for a long time close to [the] chin,” rugs, cushions, and books strewn on the lawn in the shade of the trees—its indirect invitation to slow down and have a cup yourself (helpful for causes 2, 3, 4, 7, 10, 11, 12, and certain elements of 13) is reinforced by James’s unhurried, elegant prose, a balm for anxiety arising from all of the preceding causes, and also serves to begin the complete eradication of anxiety arising from cause number 8.

http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/09/26/how-to-cure-your-anxiety-read-henry-james-s-the-portrait-of-a-lady-of-course.html

Just so you are aware, we are posting the 14 causes of anxiety (according to the article here) here:
* (1) Trauma, including abuse, or death of a loved one; (2) relationship problems, either at home or work; (3) work/school; (4) finances; (5) natural disaster; (6) lack of oxygen at high altitude; (7) taking life too seriously; (8) gnawing feeling that you should have read more of the classics; (9) negative self-talk; (10) poor health/hypochondria; (11) taking too many drugs; (12) being late/too busy; (13) inadequate food, water, heat, or comfort; (14) threat of attack by wild animal/person.

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