Coping with Recession-Related Anxiety
With the recent increase in gas prices and continually rising grocery prices, many of us may already believe we are in a recession. Unfortunately, according to many economists, we are not yet in a state of recession, but it may be coming soon.
A recent article notes that according to Bloomberg Economics, there is about a three-in-four chance that our economy will go into recession by the beginning of 2024. Some economists even believe that a recession will begin by mid-2023 or even the end of 2022.
So, in short, we’re not in a recession quite yet, but it may be on the horizon. That said, it is not a certainty. Nothing can be said for certain about the future. But, of course, there is no harm in being prepared for this type of economic environment, and learning skills and techniques that can help you cope with any feelings of anxiety during this time can be a great idea.
A recession is a naturally stressful time for everyone. After all, most of us count on our bills, groceries, and other necessities to be a certain amount to support ourselves.
Because of this, recession anxiety or stress is a very natural and real phenomenon. Even if you do not experience a higher level of anxiety due to the recession, you will likely experience at least a level of indirect stress.
You may be more likely to experience a more severe form of recession anxiety if you have previously lost a job, home, or stability during a recession before. This is because you have already gone through some of the worst things that can happen in a recession and old feelings (as well as the fear of these things happening again).
Just like any other type of anxiety, there are some common symptoms that you can look out for.
- Frequent worry and pessimism about your current and future lifestyle due to finances.
- Uncertainty about if and when things will get better.
- Embarrassment or shame about not meeting the expectations of those you support.
- Powerlessness to correct the financial situation.
- Sadness or grief about losing a home, vehicle, standard of living, or even the derailment of your “life plan.”
- Irritability or anger that is often misdirected at your loved ones or yourself.
- Physical symptoms such as problems with sleeping or eating, muscle pains, headaches, abdominal pain/gastrointestinal problems, difficulty concentrating or sitting still, feeling overly emotional or experiencing mood swings, or feeling “anxious” all of the time for no apparent reason.
How to Cope with Recession-Related Anxiety
There is no right or wrong way to deal with feelings of stress or anxiety. But there are some techniques and tips that you can use to ensure that you are coping healthily and productively.
Take a Moment
Sometimes everything going on in the world can just be too overwhelming. Especially when the things going on are national (or global) economic shifts.
In these situations, avoiding panicked decisions or other less-than-rational choices can be incredibly difficult. But, if you take a moment to pause, take a few breaths, and then think about the choice, you can end up making a much better decision.
Validate Your Feelings
Many of us are taught to simply “suck it up” or not dwell on the times when we are feeling upset. This is actually not helpful in the long run because it never gives our minds the chance to address and process our feelings.
So, if you are upset about what is happening around you financially, accept those feelings. Take the time to validate them rather than ignore them.
Widen Your Frame of Reference
Sticking to a small reference frame can make it difficult to look at events in relation to long-term plans. Think about it this way; if you are trying to base your decisions on what has happened in the past week, you might end up making a hasty decision.
But, if you take the time to widen your viewpoint, you may see that what has been happening in the past week is only a minor change in the greater scheme of things, and in a few years, things will be back to normal.
Think About the Worst-Case Scenario
Ask yourself, “what is the worst thing that can happen?”
Sometimes this exercise can be intimidating, but it can be very helpful in determining what exactly you are concerned about. For example, if you are stressed about the recession, you can ask yourself, “what could happen?” After you answer, ask yourself what could happen after that.
We can often feel stressed about something because it is big and intimidating. But, if we break it down into specific details that we are worried about, it can make the stress or anxiety more manageable.
Focus on You
Widening your reference frame can be valuable when you are feeling too overwhelmed by things that are changing quickly. Finding the balance between a narrow and a wide perspective is important. Having too wide a perspective can leave you overwhelmed by the large quantities of new information on macroeconomics.
So, suppose you are feeling anxious about what is happening around you and you find yourself looking at a lot of economic news. In that case, it may be a good idea to shift the focus towards your own situation rather than the world around you.
Stay Slow and Steady
Slow and steady wins the race, after all! An economic recession is challenging, but if you focus your view on the long-term — rather than what is going on right now — you can get through it with less stress or anxiety. You may, of course, find yourself needing to reschedule or slow down some things that you may have wanted to do earlier. These could include buying a home, saving for a child’s education, or even working on your retirement fund.
But, this is not the end of the world. Yes, these things may take longer today than they did a few years ago, but they are not out of reach. Your dream life is still obtainable.
Meet with a Financial Advisor
If you are truly having doubts that what you are doing for your personal finances is not the best you could be doing during this time, you can always consult a professional. A financial advisor will have the knowledge and experience to help you make the best decisions for your unique individual needs and situations.
Speaking with a professional financial advisor can help ease your mind and educate you on the best practices for your financial situation. This can be extremely valuable in the long run, and it can help to release some feelings of anxiety or stress that you may be having about moving into a recession.
Seek Help from a Therapist
While a therapist may not be the person that many people think to go to for stress over finances, speaking to a therapist can help you better cope with any stress you may be feeling — even if that stress is about finances.
Granted, a therapist will not be the one to tell you which stocks you should buy, when you should sell them, or even what you should be saving for. But, a therapist can help you to create and maintain healthy and productive coping mechanisms for your anxieties and stressors.
So, if you are feeling stressed about the likely oncoming recession and want personalized guidance on how you can process and manage your anxiety, please do not hesitate to reach out to us today at Love Heal Grow.