The economic downturn has individuals deeply troubled about housing, jobs, and finances. Business and governmental leadership are involved in serious discussion about what remedial steps might be taken to alleviate the growing sense of a national crisis.
What also is at stake is the psychological impact this down-turn has on the lives of millions of Americans. People feel a loss of confidence in institutions and are left with a shaken confidence in themselves. They are worried, scared and feel threatened by a breakdown in personal security. They are concerned about their own savings and investments and the higher cost of living. They lack certainty about what they should be doing.
All this gives rise to anxiety. As anxiety mounts, this spawns the development of a whole host of related symptoms. Individuals complain that they can’t fall asleep or remain asleep. Under stress, they begin fearing the possibility of a heart attack. They may turn to drinking more or taking more drugs or popping more pills to escape their despair.
They begin to brood about decisions made and feel a loss of hope about their future. They feel angry that all this could happen to take away what they’ve worked a lifetime to build. And they feel angry at themselves that they were not wise enough to see this coming.
Inevitably, the toll extends to other family members – individuals who are being laid off or facing a reduction in work hours, individuals having to sharply tighten the belt on spending or foregoing other plans around home re-modeling, moving, and vacations.
In the face of this ominous cloud, there are steps which can be taken making it easier to weather this crisis. These include:
- Don’t keep exposing yourself to the constant stream of bad news you’ll get by watching the news on TV or reading the newspaper. You already are aware that things are difficult. You don’t have to be reminded around the clock that this is so.
- Maintain a sense of perspective. Remember that we’ve experienced significant downturns in the past and have had the resiliency to bounce back. There is no reason to believe that this won’t happen again. Having a sense of hope about this is important to personal wellbeing.
- Build something joyful and pleasurable into your life. You need this for balance and for an appreciation that there are other important values in your life.
- Your body in a state of depression will feel sluggish and fatigued. Nevertheless, compel yourself to be involved in daily physical activity, whether it is the gym or yoga or walking. Each can help drain anxiety.
- Avoid blaming others or yourself. There is a large part of our life that we can’t control, and economic downturns is one of these. We need to live with a sense of understanding that there are forces beyond us which often shape the environment in which we live.
- Trust your own gut reactions. There are all kind of charlatans wanting to give or sell you advice about what you should be doing living under these circumstances. The best and most effective thing you can do is to step back and listen to what your insides tell you.
- It is a sign of strength, not weakness if you decide to turn to a counselor or coach to help sort out your options and how you want to address them. Responsible Community Resources exist all around you to give you some of the support you may feel you need.