Money & Retire

Stressed About the Financial Crisis

Looking at our retirement accounts can make us worried, irritable, and unhappy. Financial problems after 60 ruin our peace of mind. While we can’t ask him directly, let’s imagine what the Dalai Lama would say about this.

His great book, The Art of Happiness, tells us that even in tough times we can train ourselves to be happy – that the very purpose of our lives is to seek happiness. Focusing the mind can lead us there. He advises that happy people are generally more social, flexible, creative, tolerant and flexible. It’s unhappy people who are most self-involved, withdrawn, or antagonistic. Happy people are also able to think more clearly – and to avoid panic in tough times.

We tend to think we will be happy only if we can achieve and maintain everything we want, especially financially. He tells us we need to appreciate what we have. We need a willingness to be open to others – to think of our common humanity and strive for connection with family, friends, even strangers.

His Method: A short and incomplete list

  • Examine your thought patterns to determine which are beneficial and which are harmful.
  • Concentrate in order to cherish, develop and increase the positive thoughts.
  • Cultivate positive mental states like kindness and appreciation.
  • Notice the negative thoughts and turn your mind toward appreciating what you have and the people you know.
  • Consciously build relationships with others by approaching them with compassion in your mind.
  • Each morning, commit to utilizing your time in a positive way. Examine the day each evening.
  • Know that changing takes some time, but the brain is malleable and can be re-wired to turn to happiness.

These thoughts are based on the Dalai Lama’s philosophy as expressed in The Art of Happiness: A Handbook for Living by His Highness The Dalai Lama and Howard C. Cutler M.D. Published by Riverhead Books.

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