Happiness and the Economy

In early December, the American Psychological Association reported that 80% of Americans feel stressed by the economy, 60% feel angry about it, and 52% are having trouble sleeping (see CNN article, here).
Yikes! Sleep-deprived, angry, stressed out… these are not descriptors normally associated with happiness, are they?!  The sad thing about this reality is how many people believe they can’t do anything about their mood.  They truly believe that the current chaos is MAKING them crazy.  They say, “I can’t sleep at night because I’m too worried,” without understanding that worry is a choice.  They are choosing to spend all their energy focused on what could/might go wrong, and they find evidence to support their belief every time they open the paper or turn on the news.
You don’t have to be a victim.
You can handle a lot, when you’re not stretched so thin you’re about to break.  Take action to reduce your normal stressors as much as possible so that you have the capacity to deal with the ocean of negative emotion that seems to washing up to your doorstep.
To Reduce Stress:
Take care of yourself, which includes healthy eating, sleeping, exercising, and maintaining structure in your daily activities.
Connect with friends and other people who you enjoy and who understand you. Getting together with others doesn’t make troubles disappear, but you’ll be surprised how much easier they are to live with when you know everyone is dealing with the same stuff. You are not alone.
Focus on what you CAN do now to make life better, rather than on what’s not possible right now.
Reach out to other people in need; it’s satisfying and puts your own problems in perspective.
Take a break. Most of us can juggle a lot of balls… but not all the time!  Don’t deceive yourself into putting in more hours at work or believing that you can’t enjoy your weekend time.  Even the lightest burden feels like a ton when you carry it 24 hours a day.
Count your blessings: find one thing every day — no matter how small — for which you are grateful.
Just as you can make yourself crazy… you can also make yourself calm and enjoy moments of happiness in the midst of a crazy time.
Now, take a deep breathe.  Ahhhhh.  Feels good, right?  Do it again, then go back to work with a teensy bit of calm…

Read more articles like this one in: Everyday Happiness, Practicing Happiness

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