What should I be doing?

In the last article we looked at ways to create a psychological gap so we could stop our higher brain being swamped by the emotions from our lower brain.  But it’s not just anxiety that affects our ability to think rationally.  The functioning of our higher brain is also impacted by hunger, anger, loneliness and tiredness, which can be put together to form the acronym H.A.L.T.  It takes a lot of energy to run the upper brain and when we are hungry or tired we are far more prone to making bad decisions.  Anger and loneliness trigger the lower brain in the same way as anxiety.  Therefore, if you’re are struggling to think clearly, then H.A.L.T. and see what you need to do to create a calm, safe space to engage your higher brain. Stay away from things that upset you. If looking at your depleted ISA makes you anxious, stop doing it.  You probably didn’t do it every day before this, so there is no need to do it now. The TV news is structured to grab your attention with dramatic headlines and music.  Our anxiety makes us feel we need to be in touch with what’s going on, but this just feeds the brain’s threat detection systems and usually increases stress.  Get your news from online newspapers instead. Conversely, if you find it calming to watch the news, then continue.

Although our circumstances are unique, we can be organised into 4 separate groups depending on whether we have income and/or savings. The table below shows some suggestions for what each group should be thinking about.

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In general we spend very little time on our finances – either managing them or educating ourselves. Learning how to manage our finances is a key life skill and it takes time.  Keep up with the latest developments in government support and advice by visiting the following websites: