Consider this fact: One third of Americans say that it takes nearly all year to clear the credit card debt from the previous year’s Christmas shopping. It doesn’t take a genius to figure out something is wrong with this picture. There has long been an association between money (or the lack of it) and stress, much of it self-imposed. It’s human nature to require enough money for basic survival needs. It’s ego that crosses the line into financial stress with purchases that are unaffordable. As Gandhi once said, “There is enough for everyone’s need, not everyone’s greed.” This holiday season, consider the mantra, “Healthy fiscal boundaries!” Every time you pull out your wallet or enter your credit card # into a Paypal web page, ask yourself can I afford this purchase in cash right now? If the answer is NO, put the wallet back in your pocket or exit the web page. Before making a purchase, sleep on it (so many purchases are made impulsively with short term shopping thrills often resulting in long term fiscal stress). Healthy boundaries mean having conscious restraint with your purchasing power. Since the start of the Great Recession in 2008, American’s savings have increased from 1% to 6% by some estimates. This is certainly a step in the right direction. Healthy fiscal boundaries begin with creating a sound budget and sticking to it: Living within your means. Healthy fiscal boundaries means using cash, rather than credit cards, no matter how inconvenient this may be. Having healthy fiscal boundaries are only as good as the will to honor them.
Stress Tip for the Day:
Before you start (or perhaps finish) your Christmas shopping, make a budget… and stick to it. Consider making gifts, rather than buying them (remember you are not solely responsible for curing the country’s economy.) Time is one of the greatest gifts you can give someone, whether it’s taking someone for a walk, sitting down over a cup of tea, cooking a meal from scratch or watching a DVD and talking about it later. Much of the research being done on the topic of happiness shows that indeed, money doesn’t buy happiness. Solid friendships form the foundation for lifelong happiness.
Links, Books & Movies Worth Noting:
Every year I make a point to give thanks by giving to a charity to those people in the world who really need assistance simply to get by. Heiffer.org and Trees for Life are two such organizations that lives by the motto, “feed a man to fish, feed him for life.” Here are the links in case this might be of interest to you. Trees for life was started by my friend and colleague, Meher Balbir, for those who might remember him as a featured story in Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward.
Quote for the Day:
“Live simply, so that others may simply live.” — Anonymous
Photo for the Day:
For those of you interested in seeing what a Euro looks like, here is a shot taken while in Ireland last summer (before the country went bankrupt!) If you look closely, you will see the Celtic Harp is on the back on the 2 EU coin.
Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D. is an internationally renowned expert in the fields of stress management, mind-body-spirit healing and stress and human spirituality. He is the author of over 10 books including the bestsellers, Stand Like Mountain, Flow Like Water, Stressed Is Desserts Spelled Backward, The Art of Calm, Quiet Mind, Fearless Heart and Managing Stress (6E). He can be reached through his website:www.brianlukeseaward.net
© Brian Luke Seaward, Ph.D.