No matter what income, class, race or gender, we have all been affected by the bad economy. There are many people that let the hard times get the best of them. Many become depressed or isolated, while others thrive and develop resilience. I have to admit, I was one of those people that became isolated and depressed for a bit until I began to take a real close inventory of my life and began the plan for adapting.
I discovered that the key for me to emotionally overcome such a challenge is to change my perspective and focus on the “silver lining” of such discouraging times. My focus changed from dwelling on the circumstances to focusing on what I was gaining and how I was growing from such a negative experience. Each hurdle that challenged me ended up developing a strength or giving me an experience I hadn’t planned on.
To compensate for lack of income, I started writing. Lord knows I have a lot to say and I love writing, so it was a great match. It doesn’t bring in tons of money yet, but it does help me financially and it is also very therapeutic and good for the soul. It is also something that is very flexible, I can work around any schedule any time.
I replaced going out to eat with home cooked meals. Not only did it save me money but it increased the quality time that I was spending with my family. It was nice to slow down and enjoy the aroma of a homemade meal wafting through the entire house making it feel cozy and warm. Before, it seemed like we were always on the go and we were looking for the quickest way to get it done. We rarely ate together as a family and were often headed in all different directions.
Entertainment before was movies, dining out and shopping. We were by no means extravagant, but we were comfortable. Now, we have incorporated “movie night” and instead of going to the movies, we rent a movie from the library for free. We pop up some popcorn and enjoy a fun family night. When we do go shopping, we always look for sales and have become quite skilled at clipping coupons and finding bargains.
When I replaced the luxuries in my life with “do-able” alternatives that gave me greater pleasure, it was no longer a sacrifice. Although this economy has threatened the livelihoods of so many, in my experience, the lost money was replaced by my new found passion for writing and the extra time was put to use nourishing the relationships that are important to me.
The old cliche of “every cloud has a silver lining” is true. Some people have to look harder than others but having a positive outlook and replacing things you need to give up with pleasant alternatives will be a great step in overcoming the challenges of the recession or life in general.
Seligman, M. E. P., & Csikszentmihlayi, M. (2000). Positive psychology: An introduction.
American Psychologist, 55(1), 5-14. doi: 10.1037/0003-066X.55.1.5