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The Emotional Costs of Inflation

I practice positive psychology with both my clients and myself. I am very honest about the struggles that we have been going through, but I also almost always find a silver lining. With inflation on the rise and the market in bear territory, right now the best I can do is give you economic insecurity emotional survival techniques.

Like a lot of people, you may have just started venturing out again, wanting to do more things, have fun and maybe spend a little of your hard-earned income. That’s great, and life would almost seem normal, except that everything has gotten so much more expensive. Inflation has a negative effect on how we look at life.

Should we go to that concert now that tickets and gas have tripled, or should we be more financially conservative and subscribe to a streaming service? Do we go out to dinner or eat at home to save money—because with everything going up, our disposable income is going down?

First, economic weather forecasters were predicting financial “storm clouds,” and now they’re saying we better get ready for a “financial hurricane.” But exactly what does that mean, and how do we prepare for it?

Some people are selling their homes to secure the profit they have made with the last housing boom, which by all accounts has slowed to a crawl. Other people are cutting back in smaller ways, which makes sense to me. Once people at the top of the financial food chain start making noises, it’s time we all start listening.

Of course, you can’t just live in fear, but you also can’t just live your life in the same way. Here in Southern California, gas prices near the airport are $6+ a gallon and rising. How can you think of taking a summertime cross-country drive or even a trip to Disneyland? Tickets aren’t cheap, but I bet they are less than the cost of getting there these days.

Facing your fears will decrease your anxiety. Saving money is a good idea and finding a way to secure your income and savings is another. It looks like we are in for an economic recession; we survived one just over a decade ago, so the struggle will be familiar. Realizing this can help you see that you have the ability and fortitude to get through yet another worldwide shake-up.

Knowing that you avoided or survived COVID should also give you some confidence. Adding financial security to your list of “things to watch out for” will help you get your head and heart into the right place to get through this next difficult time.

Hey, hopefully I’m wrong, but we all see prices going up and up. It’s on the news every single night. Is that mentally getting us used to the idea? It has been my experience that once prices go up, they seldom come down anytime soon.

Barton Goldsmith, PhD is an award-winning psychotherapist and humanitarian. He is also a columnist, the author of eight books and a blogger for with over 28 million readers. He is available for video consults worldwide at