When times are tough financially, it’s tempting to look only at the negatives. It’s easy to focus on what you can’t have and what you can’t do. But there are positives to financial hardship, if you choose to look for them. Having a positive outlook on your financial situation can make it easier to deal with, and protect your health and your sanity while you work to make things better. Here are some positives of tough times.
It Makes You Appreciate What You Have
While we should all appreciate what we have more often than we do, there’s nothing better than financial hardship to make you grateful for the things you do have. If you have a roof over your head, food to eat, a loving family, friends, a job, and/or an education you’re better off than many. Even if you have just one or two things to be grateful for, that’s more than some. Take a minute and appreciate what you have, rather than stressing about what you don’t.
You Exercise Your Creative Muscles
When things get rough, you start getting creative. You start finding ways to reuse and repurpose things. You learn to substitute things you do have for things you don’t. You find new ways to entertain the kids. You think of new ways to make money. Maybe you even start a business. Financial hardship can lead to more creativity.
You Spend More Time With Family
When you can’t send the kids to expensive activities and each member of the family can no longer go out on their own expeditions, you start spending more time together. You may eat more meals together at home. You play games instead of sending the kids to the movies while you go out to dinner. You might play tag in the yard on Saturday instead of sending the kids to soccer practice. Financial hardship tends to bring people home and you might rediscover each other.
You Get Rid Of Clutter
When you need money, one of the first things to go is your clutter as you sell your junk to make money. You have a yard sale and get rid of all those old toys, games, clothes, DVD’s and books. Or you sell it all online. However you get rid of it, in the end you have a cleaner house.
You Stop Caring What Other People Think
When financial hardship begins, many people wonder, “What will the neighbors/coworkers/friends/family think.” You worry about their perceptions of your unemployment, your old car or clothes, or your new lifestyle choices. Over time, though, as you learn to do what’s best for you, you find yourself caring less and less what other people think. All that’s important is that you’re doing what needs to be done. You gain the freedom of not caring what other people think.
Life Gets Simpler
If you can’t afford lots of activities and distractions, life starts to get simpler. Instead of driving to five activities every night, you simply go home. Instead of shopping every Saturday, you suddenly have time to do those chores you’ve been neglecting. If you can’t go out to clubs or restaurants, you eat at home and then have the evening free to pursue a hobby or just sit and think. With no cell phone beeping every two minutes, you find time to do other things. Less to do equals a simpler life, one that you may choose to keep once the hardship is over.
You Learn To Prevent Future Hardship
Experience is a great educator. Unfortunately, we tend to learn the most from our bad experiences. If nothing else, the hardship will likely teach you how to save and prepare for the future so that you’ll be better prepared to either avoid or deal with a crisis the next time.
You Yearn New Skills
When things are hard, you learn a whole host of new skills. You may learn how to cook, do DIY repairs, sew, garden, clean, cut hair or any number of things. When you can’t pay to have everything done, you discover that there’s a lot you can do for yourself.
You Get More Done Around The House
When you can’t go out all the time, you stay home. Suddenly there’s time to get chores done, take care of neglected maintenance, clean, and do laundry. It may not be fun or thrilling, but suddenly your yard and home may start looking much better.
You Likely Get Better Nutrition
Eating out is rarely good for you. When economic necessity forces you to eat at home, you’ll likely get better nutrition. Most things you make at home have less fat and sodium than restaurant food and you can throw in extra veggies. You can also better control your portion sizes.
You Have The Opportunity To Get Fit
If you’re out of a job, you might find yourself with time on your hands. You can use that time to improve your heath. You don’t have to join a gym to go for a walk everyday or swim at your community pool. If your community/apartment complex has a fitness center, use it. Exercise not only makes you healthier, it clears your mind and reduces stress.
You Live Greener
You’ll probably find yourself wasting less water, electricity, and products. You may start taking your recyclables in for money. You’ll buy less, thus consume less packaging and resources. If you drive less, you waste less fuel. Economic hardship can translate into a greener lifestyle.
You Get To Better Know Your Community & Its Resources
You’ll learn where to go for free entertainment. You’ll learn what programs and resources your local libraries, churches, and community centers offer. You might get to know your neighbors better if you barter services or sell a little produce out of your garden. You’ll learn where all of the parks are and where to go for free classes or experiences. Chances are you’ll discover aspects of your community and neighborhood that you never knew existed.
Of course, simply seeing the positives in your situation isn’t enough to make it better and it doesn’t mean that everything is sunshine and rainbows. You still need to take whatever steps are required to improve your finances. While you figure out those steps and wait for your actions to make a difference, appreciating the positives can keep you from sinking into despair. The better your outlook, the better equipped you are to make changes and deal with frustrations. It will also make you an easier, better person to be around. Your family and friends will thank you for it.
(Photo courtesy of danielmoyle)