Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Government Wants YOU to Be Happy

Feeling gloomy about the economy? Never fear, the government is here! Yes, the government, which wants to fix every cog in our sputtering economic system, is here to help you deal with the stress and anxiety of your situation. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration has put together an online guide called "Getting Through Tough Economic Times" to help people identify and deal with health risks associated with financial anxiety. The site is almost as fun to visit as the California EDD (EDD has an edge thanks to the reassuring portrait of Arnold). In case you were wondering about the signs of concern, here's SAMHSA's list of warning signs that you or your loved one is going through tough times:

* Persistent Sadness/Crying
* Excessive Anxiety
* Lack of Sleep/Constant Fatigue
* Excessive Irritability/Anger
* Increased drinking
* Illicit drug use, including misuse of medications
* Difficulty paying attention or staying focused
* Apathy - not caring about things that are usually important to you
* Not being able to function as well at work, school or home

Then the site provides some quick tips on how to cope. These are entertaining:

* Trying to keep things in perspective - recognize the good aspects of life and retain hope for the future.
* Strengthening connections with family and friends who can provide important emotional support.
* Engaging in activities such as physical exercise, sports or hobbies that can relieve stress and anxiety.
* Developing new employment skills that can provide a practical and highly effective means of coping and directly address financial difficulties.

Honestly, I think this is a good service. It recognizes that times are tough, and makes an effort to help people deal with an overwhelming sense of anxiety gripping the nation. I've written a couple entries on the things you should doand should not do during unemployment. Taking a step back, I believe the engine for our recovery is partially political, partially financial, and mostly psychological. For the majority of us watching and waiting for things to turn around, the psychological element is so important to manage.

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