While an economic crisis sometimes affects one person, one family or one establishment, it sometimes becomes the problem of an entire country. And sometimes, as it is now, the crisis is a problem that the whole world faces. In any kind of a disaster, while people think and worry about how others are affected, in the end they focus on how it will affect themselves and their immediate circles. Will it affect us? What shall we face? How will our future be? These questions and the answers we search for, affect our psychology.
On the other hand, our psychologies affect the crisis as well. It is a fact that the panic that comes with an economic crisis leads people, establishments and countries into meeting the wrong decisions and thus increases the effects thereof. The way news is communicated, what experts giving information have to say, gossip, all lead people into hopelessness. Hopeless people, institutions and countries find it difficult to cope with the crisis. Therefore, it is essential that the crisis, the situation of the country, and finally, our individual situation, should be correctly and realistically evaluated. In times of crisis, depression, anxiety and somatization disorders increase. However, this does not mean that everybody’s psychological health is going to be compromised and help will be needed.
The need to feel secure is one of our most basic needs. Some families are more deeply affected in times of crisis. Families who already have problems, conflicts and hardships are more deeply affected. In such families, break ups and divorces are seen more often. Those who are affected right at the start of the crisis, who are caught unprepared, are the people with the most problems. Negative changes such as loss of job, loss of status within the community, negative changes in living conditions triggers the problems. Our age is the age of generating more, consuming more and being valued according to what you make and how much you consume. In a race going on under these conditions, you are eliminated from the race for a reason that does not seem to be your fault. In times of crisis, the process that starts with the loss of self confidence for the individual and continues with the loss of hopes for the future brings behavioral changes. There is an increase in alcohol consumption, in gambling and depression, and conclusively an increase in suicides.
Those who fight best against the crisis, both as individuals and as families, have definite common characteristics. An economic crisis is a reason for unhappiness in everybody’s life, due to events such as the loss of a job, adverse changes in living conditions, diminishing effectiveness in community life, etc. But those who can get help, those who have support, and those who can adapt to changes in life more easily, are more skilled in dealing with the crisis. Especially, those who can sustain their hope for the future and who can shape their expectations are the strongest in fighting the crisis.
It is a fact that individuals and families that have support from family during the crisis can deal with the crisis more easily. With this support, it will be easy for the family whose financial situation is in dire straits to keep up their hopes and gain time to improve their condition. Besides financial aid, knowing that people close to them are morally supporting them will protect the individual and the family from communal losses and adversities. How children are affected by a crisis depends on the attitude of the elder members of the family. The attitude towards the child before the crisis, values and training given by the family will change the degree to which it is affected. Previous distancing of the child from living conditions, the value of money or family problems will make it more difficult to adapt to the new circumstances. Children shouldn’t be submerged in family problems beyond their age, but they shouldn’t be kept completely ignorant of family and country problems. A family crisis is not always a conflict between the parents. Parents usually try to hide crisis situations, thinking to protect the children. They do not share their emotions, and think that they are acting as if everything was just fine. In fact, the troubles that the parents think they are hiding affect the children. Especially adolescents may act as if they are not affected at all, as if they don’t care. An adolescent does not always voice his/her anxieties, his/her fears. If there is a change in his/her accomplishments at school, or his/her relationships, which in turn means that he/she is not coping with the situation. Uncertainty leads to bigger problems. Therefore, any problems that may arise at home, with the parents, must be shared with the adolescent in a suitable way. The adolescent will feel much better in being with his family through the solution of the problem or in dealing with it.
What should be done?
What do we need to do? First of all, we need to deal with our worries logically. We might remember thrift, which we have forgotten lately, and therefore did not teach our children. It might be a good time to plan how to stop being an over consumption society. This does not mean to stop spending any money. For the sustainability of the economy, it is necessary to continue on working, to earning and to spending. As long as we control ourselves and adapt to new conditions, there will be no problems. Not losing our hopes for the future and integrating realistic expectations to realistic limitations will alleviate the effects of our crisis, if not the economic crisis. It is up to opinion leaders, managers and experts to control the effects of the general crisis psychology on the economy and global peace.
DOES MONEY BRING HAPPINESS?
Is it true that money can’t buy happiness? The happiness degree of a country’s people has been found to be related with the level of gross income per capita of that country. This means that the citizens of richer countries are happier. This makes one think that the answer is yes. However, research results change after a certain point. After the income level rises above a specific point, this relationship disappears. That is, no matter how high the income level rises, it does not make people insanely happy. Why does money lose its power? People with higher incomes are better educated, cultured and healthy. The values they yearn for start being those that money can’t buy. The confirmation that the riches people in the Forbes 100 list are only marginally happier than the average American citizen can be an affirmation of the fact that money is a means, and not the end.
OUR INTERESTING RELATIONSHIP with MONEY: LOVE AND HATE
Is the happiness money brings related more to how we earn it, or to how we spend it? Right here, we get an interesting response. Independent of how much we earn, being able to spend money on others brings more happiness. The reason is not clear. Do people who are already happy like to spend on others? Or do they buy more relationships, a higher status and more friends by spending money?
What we can do with money, and what money can do to us has been found to be related to our personality. In business life, money that brings happiness to those who attach importance to money and think to gain status with it, affects those who want to enjoy and take satisfaction from what they do adversely. This means that they are less happy when they make a lot of money. Money detracts from the importance of what they do, and causes them to question the love they feel for the work. So, we must know that the competitive environment created at work with incentives like a promotion or raise will not be effective for every employee.
At the end of the day, when the question is money and monetary relationships, logic disappears. In situations that make us think that there is no fair distribution of money, love ends and rage and hate take its place, and sometimes we manage to put ourselves in more harmful situations. No matter how much we believe that we make the most logical and profitable decisions, our economic decisions may usually be irrational under the influence of our emotions.