Since the start of this year, we’ve seen an increase in depression and anxiety related to personal finances, and that makes sense.
When everything goes up, you are happy, and when the value of your estate, or your salary goes down, you feel bad. Feeling depressed, more vulnerable or even angry is a normal response.
Almost everyone I know is freaking out a bit about money right now. Some people can barely afford the same home they currently live in, let alone consider upgrades.
It is clearly time to take a step back. Many of us have been through this before, and that’s a good thing.
In my lifetime, the market has always come back. This is a temporary situation, and remembering it should cheer you up a bit. It’s not the same as watching your 401K grow every day, but neither can you afford to feel bad every day. It’s just not good for you.
It is not necessary to check your portfolio daily. Once a week or even less is fine. Like your body weight, the market will go up and down. Your mutual fund managers will do their best to limit losses, but it’s not going to look good for a while, so why bother?
If you’ve been investing for a while, it’s been hard not to make money, so find some emotional balance in that fact. Similarly, if you own your own home, its value has likely increased over time.
Go easy on yourself. During the good times, you’ve felt the “wealth effect.” You felt good when you saw your statements, and you dreamed about the future and what you would do with the money. Now those dreams have been postponed or maybe even suppressed which would make anyone unhappy and nervous.
Just hold on to what you know you have and what you know you can do. We will get there. Everyone’s situation is different, but if you listen to your heart instead of your anxious mind, you will find some balance.
Another option is to use visualization to improve your outlook. Just imagine in your mind what you need or what you are working on. Use your imagination to imagine the positive. Maybe it’s a protective white light above your house or several zeros at the end of your bank statement.
I invite you to try this method. It has helped dozens of people, including me.
If visualization isn’t your thing, that’s okay. But if you’re struggling right now, you need to look for something to ease your fears and insecurities. What is it for you? Make a list of things that can help. Once you have something in writing it will be much easier to accomplish.
The most important thing here is your mental state. Don’t let the overall economic situation or the uncertain state of your personal finances ruin your life.
Things will be better. Hold on to that.
Barton Goldsmith, Ph.D., is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, author of eight books, and blogger for PsychologyToday.com with over 28 million readers. It is available for video viewing worldwide. Join it at [email protected]. His column appears on Saturdays and Mondays in the News-Press.