I love Twitter – not so much for tweeting mundane things about what I’m doing with my time, but for the wealth of information that tweets across my “home page” through the course of the day. Yesterday @cheergiver tweeted a link to the following article from U.S. News & World Report: “10 Secrets to Finding Happiness During the Recession.”
I’ll give you the link to the article in a moment, but first wanted to summarize and comment on the ten “secrets” for you.
Secret #1: Spend $20 on an EXPERIENCE rather than on an ITEM
I love this one and totally agree! A good movie, an inexpensive but delicious dinner out, a small local driving trip to seek out some new kind of adventure. The reason why experiences are better than things is that the pleasure can live on for a long time in the memory of it – if it was really great, you’ll enjoy talking about it for your entire lifetime!
Secret #2: Pursue meaningful goals
Your financial goals may be thwarted right now (and I don’t mean to discount the very real stress and despair of that, especially if you find yourself devastated financially), but we can feel comforted by the fact that more money doesn’t lead to increased well-being. Other things do, things that you have more control of, such as helping to improve the lives of others (personally or professionally) and spending time with loved ones.
Secret #3: Be open and receptive to what’s happening right now
I totally agree with this. Whenever things start going badly in my life, after the initial frustration I might feel I always ask myself: “Hmmm…I wonder what’s going on here? Could it be that a gift is riding into my life, on the wings of this ‘disaster’?” God has done so much good in my life through the crises that I would have never, ever volunteered to experience. Sometimes there is an obvious positive outcome or gift that I would have never anticipated, and other times there isn’t (there isn’t a guarantee that things will work out, necessarily). In the latter circumstance I can simply deeply appreciate that key things such as my faith or character have been shaped and strengthened by the experience.
Secret #4: Nurture meaningful relationships
Recession or no recession, this is something that’s absolutely free and is the number one predictor of health and well-being in the Western World (as mentioned above, money is NOT a predictor of happiness, once you get past a certain basic amount of income; in fact, the more money people have, the more likely they are to be less happy)
Secret #5: Recognize your strengths
Tough times are fantastic for discovering just how resilient and resourceful you are (and even better, tough times are fantastic for witnessing and experiencing how resourceful God is; more often than not I am awed by His strength to help me in a situation that I don’t have the strength or ability to face).
Secret #6: Count your blessings
I was feeling sorry for myself yesterday, because there have been all kinds of obstacles this week. Then I watched “Extreme Home Makeover” last night with – when I saw the challenges that that family lived with so cheerfully, believe me I was counting my blessings.
Secret #7: Keep an optimism journal
Write down what you are grateful for, and what your prayers are for the future – in tough times, it’s a great way to remind yourself that “this too shall pass”, and that good things still lie ahead.
Secret #8: Seek advice from your neighbor
Though I’m digressing a bit from the article’s point about this, I think you should talk and laugh with and spend time with your neighbor, period! The more friendly social contacts we have in our life, the healthier and happier we are (no matter what else is going on).
Secret #9: Get out and sweat
This is so true, in my speaking presentations I often mention the fact that regular exercise has been shown to be AS EFFECTIVE in boosting your mood as taking an anti-depressant. Amazing!
Secret #10: Do unto others
Absolutely – we know that helping others who need it (especially when you feel that your life is going badly) puts things in perspective and gives you a rush of feel-good natural chemicals in your body. Helping others boosts your mood, and boosts your immune system. If you’re stuck between jobs, find some time to volunteer – it’ll help immensely, and who knows, you might even make a connection with someone who can connect you to a job opportunity.
If you’d like to read the entire original article, click here