Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Psychology of Preparedness

This topic will include several articles that address current concerns regarding the emotional and mental state of people in regards to the current economy. It will be a definite work in progress. Check back for more information as time goes on. If you have specific requests, put them in the comments section and I will research and write what is needed.

Part I—Safety Needs Are Paramount

The news, whether TV or internet can appear daunting and foreboding with the economic crisis, wars, and other global problems. We learn about the financial industry, the struggling domestic car industry and the government proposals to bail them out. It certainly can raise concerns about individual and business rights and responsibilities, as well as possible constitutional compromises. Such news, I have witnessed, increases anxieties, can induce a sense of future hopelessness, and on the extremes, cause paranoia and zealotous activities. The paramount idea of being prepared for what is going on and what could vs what will happen is safety.
Being prepared is a level of establishing safety for yourself and your family. Abraham Maslow presented a theory of basic needs requisite for human development and enjoyment. In order of importance, those needs are: 1) Physiological, 2) Safety, 3) Love/Belonging, 4) Esteem, and 5) Self-actualization. Self –actualization being the final stage means fulfillment in your life’s pursuits or purpose, which is individual and personal. It cannot be met without the others being met first. In preparing yourself and family, first and foremost prepare for your physiological needs (thus, the purpose of this website). Those physical needs are as follows: breathing, water, food, shelter, warmth, protection from the elements, sleep, sex (believe it or not), homeostasis (a sense of stability and predictability), excretion, physical health, etc. Much of this blog focuses on procedures, ideas, and suggestions to meet these needs. Once physical needs are met, safety is important. Safety is an umbrella term that describes many levels of needs. Those safety needs can include (though this list is not exhaustive) emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual needs. If your physiological needs are being met, then many of the physical safety needs will inadvertently be met as well. However, what do you do with a sense of impending doom, anxiety, hopelessness, etc.? Well, first and foremost I would recommend (as I do to clients) evaluating your core beliefs and values. What kind of foundation of values, beliefs, standards, spirituality, etc. do you base your life on? Whether religious or not (in Utah we all know what the main religion is), everyone has beliefs. Even atheists have beliefs. What you need to do is see if those beliefs help you maintain a sense of emotional and mental safety. If they don’t, then you haven’t gone deep enough to discover what the unshakeable truths are upon which you build everything. If they are shakable, I would recommend figuring something else out that will not be shaken even WTSHTF! Foundation is the key to your sense of safety. Next, is your emotional and mental safety. Often, if your sense of physical and spiritual safety is well established, the mental and emotional safety will automatically follow suit. However, other things help. Ask yourself these questions: Am I a pessimist or an optimist? Do I call pessimism being a realist? What is the first thing I notice in a situation? Is it the negative or the positive? Do I hold on to grudges or do I forgive easily? Do I complain a lot? Do I focus on the fears of what can happen, or do I look at it as a possibility rather than inevitability? Do I stay awake at night worrying about things over which I have no power or control? Do I really have enough information or knowledge of the issues I worry about to merit the time and effort of worrying? The questions could truly go on and on. The point is ask yourself honest and revealing questions to evaluate what kind of anxiety you are creating yourself. If you find yourself worrying about current news, trends, or rumors, I recommend educating yourself from “reliable sources” to learn what you can. If there is truly disturbing news, which is possible, remember what your foundation is and fall back on that. Realize, also, that many of the current issues in the world are not influenced by your day-to-day choices, but by others who may or may not be good or wholesome people. The best we can do is be well-informed and educated and vote for who we can when that time comes. If someone is voted or called into office that you do not agree with, what more can you personally do to change the situation? Most likely, nothing. Remember your foundation and ALWAYS fall back on that. Men and women aren’t in office forever, whether good or bad. Learn to let go of things that you can’t change or control. You have better things to do with your time.
Remember that in these times we are not by ourselves. There are many out there just as concerned as you are. Be proactive in seeking them out. Most of them are probably your neighbors. Be positive in your discussions and avoid the negative “what-if’s.” Always fall back on your foundation to maintain your sense of safety and prepare what you can with your physical needs.

To be continued…

1 comment:

carolyn law said...

Worrying wastes alot of time expecially when we don't have information. Perhaps it is the lack of information that causes us to worry. I like how my sons always check on the web to see if something is true or not. there is alot of information out there if we wish to seek..