Times are just getting tougher and tougher. I am getting more calls from people who need help, and patients I work with are having more trouble now with anxiety, bad moods and tension in their relationships.

This is not surprising, because when resources become scarce, the fear of not being able to meet your own needs soars. What might be surprising though, is that some people are doing very well and are feeling pretty happy and above the fray. You would imagine they must be people who are not afraid of losing their jobs or who have money socked away, but you would be wrong.

The people who are faring the best are those whose priorities in life are less dependent on money. These people feel their relationships are the most valuable thing they have, and know that money (or lack of it) won't really change them. Some folks feel that they suffer less if they have people around whom they love and who love them. Also, people who have been through real hardship--particularly health difficulties and scares--have learned that if you have your health, you really do have everything important.

The silver lining in all of this is that many people are going to rethink their priorities. It's not too late to reexamine what is really most important to you in your life and feel appreciative for what you do have, rather than mourning what you don't. When happiness is studied, it is the quality of your relationships that bodes the best for long-term happiness.

Look around, truly see who is in your life and channel your energies into improving the relationships with those you care about. This is what will lead to a truly "rich" life, even in today's economy.

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