The past few two years have been a downhill ride, with feelings of fear, uncertainty, and anxiety becoming a part of our lives. The world battled a deadly pandemic and waited with baited breaths for vaccines, lockdowns to lift, and the normalcy of our mundane lives to return. There was a sense of common hope that life on the other side of this disastrous time would make up for what we had lost.
Cut to 2023, stock markets are tumbling, the price of essential products is increasing, people are losing jobs, and an impending recession is about to hit. Our return to normal has once again been halted, and this time, the uncertainty and limitations of the economy are the main players. Just like the pandemic, there is a link between recession and mental health too.
So if you have been reading the doomsday headlines of rising interest rates, you are forgiven for feeling gloomy about how this impending recession will affect you.
To help you navigate this challenging time, let us dive deeper into the connection between recession and mental health and a list of practical suggestions that can help.
How are recession and mental health related?
A recession is generally considered a time of two consecutive financial years with negative gross domestic product (GDP) growth. However, more commonly, it is the time when economic growth falls below the sub-par level, and unemployment rises. While there has been no official announcement of recession by the government, a poll for economists by the Wall Street Journal signaled a 61% chance of a recession in 2023.
Financial security plays a determinant role in the overall well-being of people. In times like recession, the fear of having to worry about high rent, inflated pricing, and day-to-day expenses can cause immense emotional stress for a person.
While pandemic-related anxiety was mainly around the threat to our health and social isolation, recession anxiety can go even deeper. It can lead to a mindset of scarcity. A scarcity mindset is a mental condition where people become obsessed with a lack of certain things. It becomes impossible to focus on other things or continue their daily lives.
While we can’t forbid the recession and its impact on the global economy, there is a lot that you can do to protect your mental health and stay motivated during such difficult times.
Practical Ways To Deal With Recession Anxiety
1. Get informed but don’t fall into the trap of the news cycle.
Yes, it is important to stay informed about the state of the economy and understand the impact of the upcoming recession on your finances and overall life. But it is also equally important not to dwell too much on the negative news cycle.
While this can be difficult, know that focusing on negative news will only end up making you more anxious and stressed out. Therefore, taking a break from the news and concentrating your energy on other things can greatly help.
2. Know that there are some things beyond your control.
Another pivotal thing while dealing with recession anxiety is to put things in the right perspective. While monitoring what is happening to the economy and figuring out how to save yourself from the crisis is important, knowing when to let go of this tendency is essential. Sometimes, you have to simply accept that certain things are beyond your control. This includes changes in the rental market, inflation, and, most definitely, recession.
It all boils down to analyzing the things you can and can’t control. With this realization, it is important to work on accepting things that you can’t control. Accepting does not mean that you are okay with what is happening. It means that you know the reality, and now you can direct your energy toward coping with it.
3. Accept that you are anxious.
Now that you know that there is a real connection between recession and mental health, it is important that you recognize and accept that your finances affect your mental health. When you acknowledge that you are dealing with recession-related anxiety, you let go of the unnecessary denial and finally begin to deal with this anxiety. When you accept your anxiety, you can move to important questions like where it stems from and what you can do to avoid it.
4. Understand how recession anxiety affects you.
Now that you have accepted your anxiety, it is time to analyze it. Try to acknowledge how your anxiety physically affects you – whether it is the tension in your muscles, the panic in your heart, or your sweaty palms. This is help remove your focus from your consuming thoughts to your physical self.
In the next step, try to think of the time you were doing financially well and remember that feeling. This is because, often, recession anxiety is related to feeling not enough – not smart enough, capable enough, or good enough.
And in most cases, these beliefs are not true. People are far more resourceful and capable than they give themselves credit for. And therefore, helping them reconnect with their capable self can be an excellent way to mitigate recession anxiety.
Recession and mental health are deeply connected. Recession-related anxiety is a real and challenging mental health condition to deal with. In such times – taking a break from the news cycle, accepting your anxiety, and understanding its impact on your life can make a big difference.
Additionally, if you feel that your financial anxiety is disturbing your daily functioning and mentally exhausting you, you might need professional help. Accessing professional help is now easier than ever with the advent of online therapy platforms. To know more about them, click here.
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