Recession and You
Many countries around the world are, according to all the measures, in, yes, a recession.
There it is, the dreaded 'r' word, a word that any self-respecting politician must avoid in favor of phrases such as 'negative growth'.
Economists have given recession a definition.
It is a reduction in a country's gross domestic product (GDP) for at least two consecutive quarters.
No, no it is far worse, the media scream at us with their headlines.
It is a depression.
There is no agreed definition of an economic depression, although in one we should expect high unemployment, a credit squeeze, lower output, less trade, shrinking investment, bankruptcies, and volatile currencies.
Oh, and prices might go anywhere.
But if you are like me, it all seems a bit much.
But the truth is that there is concern among the level headed.
The more sober analysts say that our system, built as it is on the exchange of money for goods, services and labour, is in strife.
There is a risk that the engine of finance that drives the system will slow, loose power or stop altogether.
So what can we do? Economists would have us continue to spend money to oil the creaking wheels of the system.
Stimulus is what we need.
Governments take this on, yet for individuals stimulus sounds risky.
Chances are that if I cannot guarantee my job, my savings, the value of my house or the size of my pension, I will do the opposite.
My intuition screams save.
Be frugal now that the rainy days are here.
What to do? These are stress-bearing choices.
Fortunately there are some things you can do.
First, take some long deep breaths, slow down and relax.
I know that breathing doesn't pay the rent but neither does anxiety, so chill a bit.
Remember that there have been recessions, even depressions, before and arguably they brought out the best in people.
We helped each other, became more self-reliant and figured it all out.
We got practical, exchanged what we had with our neighbors and looked after the less fortunate.
Second, be positive.
Smile some more, even when you don't feel like it.
This will make you, and everyone who sees you, feel better.
Third, have a think, a deep purposeful and connected think.
This is not the thinking that happens when we respond to the panic and fear peddled through the media, remember they sell to our curiosity which is sharpest when we are frightened.
This is a real think, a truthful one.
Think about yourself, about what is real and true.
About what you really need, not what you want.
Do this honestly and you will surprise yourself.
You will notice that the things the economic system says we must have do not actually determine our happiness.
So any loss of these things is not the end for us as individuals or societies.
Call on your brain to serve you.
Make it think logically so that your feelings can be informed by the truth.
Do this consistently and you will be strong, happy and content.
You will be recession proof.