According to a recent Washington Post-ABC News poll (Recession Taking Emotional Toll, New Poll Finds), “Stress and pessimism about the economy are closely related, as almost four in 10 who said the economy is getting worse also said they are under deep stress.” That same poll found that, of people who believe it is improving, a majority of those people called the economy a source of stress. So what can you do to ease your stress and feel better? Sharon Salzberg suggests asking a key question:
What do I really need right now, in this moment, to be happy?
- Sharon Salzberg
Salzberg is a Buddhist teacher and author, and cofounder of the Insight Meditation Society (IMS) in Barre, Massachusetts. In her article in Shambala Sun, Salzberg gives a number of examples to show that, in a moment when you are experiencing unhappiness or stress, if you can try to identify something immediate that will make you happy – that is not in the future or unreachable – it may change the moment so that you can be satisfied.
She also talks about how generosity can make us free – by challenging our craving, attachment, and clinging to things, which brings confinement and lack of self-esteem. In freeing up ourselves when we give, we also give freedom to others, she says,
If we give a gift freely, without attachments …it celebrates freedom both within ourselves as the giver and in the receiver. In that moment, we are not relating to each other in terms of roles or differences. In a moment of pure giving, we really become one.
Salzberg also brings the idea that feeling we have enough can relieve us from feeling wanting and allow us to be generous to others. She says,
One of the great joys that comes from generosity is the understanding that no matter how much or how little we have by the world’s standards, if we know we have enough, we can always give something.
These are very important questions to ask ourselves in this time of recession and uncertainty:
- How much is enough?
- How much do I really need?
- What non-material things will stimulate me and make me feel good?
- How do I live more in the moment and experience more gratitude?
The only difference between needing more and having enough is your attitude.
It costs you nothing to decide that you have enough.
- Ralph Marston