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National Debt, Stress and Perception, Is It Really That Bad?

Allan Schwartz, LCSW, Ph.D. was in private practice for more than thirty years. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the states ...Read More

If you are filled with anxiety, panic, gloominess, and find yourself hyper ventilating over news reports about the economy of the United States, who can blame you? You are not alone. The headlines scream such things as, “double recession,” “stock market plummets,” “world wide recession,” and, “financial disaster.” It makes it seem as though we are on the edge of the end of the world.

On the other hand, have you noticed that you, along with all the rest of us, arise in the morning and go about our daily affairs. We feed our children, clothe them, send them off to school, go to work or manage as best we can if we are unemployed. Yes, things are tough for many people right now, but they are finding ways to cope.

Psychology has shown that perception exerts an enormous influence over the way we view our lives. Base on our environment, individual physical constitution, back ground and history, we often view things differently from our friends and neighbors. For example, for those who are working and earning a good living, we are in a recession. For those who are unemployed, running out of unemployment benefits and have no savings left, we are in a Great Depression similar to that of the 1930’s.

The theme behind this article is that a major driving force underlying the way we perceive the world today are news reports and how they portray the world and the nation. The way the media casts the news makes it seem as though there is only gloom, with doom about to crash down upon us. We need to ask, “Is it really that way?” My answer is “No, it is not that way.”

It’s important for mental health to not allow ourselves to experience life as catastrophic. Remember, our grand and great grand parents, lived through the Depression of the 1930’s and survived. We, too, will survive. What is necessary is to shield ourselves from undue amounts of stress. This refers to the stress that is a direct result of our reactions to the news.

To reduce stress it’s important to tune out news as much as is realistic. There people who pursue every report out of a sense of having to keep up. A much better tactic is to protect ourselves by greatly reducing the amount of time and attention given to world and national events. There are more stress busting techniques that can be learned by doing a search here, at Mental Help Net. I want to direct everyone’s attention to the excellent articles written by Dr. Elisha Goldstein, a clinical psychologist who specializes in mindful living and mindful psychotherapy. Read his article and put them to good use. You will learn how to reduce your stress.

Remember what Charles Dickens wrote through his character, Sidney Carton, in the novel, “A Tale of Two Cities.”

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…”


An important caveat, unlike Carton, we are not facing the gallows. That makes his quote that much more meaningful.

Your comments are encouraged.

Allan N. Schwartz, PhD

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