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Recession – A Curse or a Blessing in Disguise?

November 21, 2009

A lone cyclist pedals past the fresh breezes along the lakeside in Chicago, IL., Thursday, Oct. 29, 2009. Recession has brought several unforeseen benefits, including an improvement in the quality of environment. The decline of the industrial activity in North of England has led to a significant reduction in factory smoke emissions. While people struggle to put food on their tables, at least the environment they breathe in is much healthier. (THP Photo/Maria Khan)

Recession has and continues to affect all of us in a myriad of ways. From job loss and home foreclosures to suicides and family breakdowns, the list could go on for days. Yet, there are always two sides to a coin and it is time to flip to the other side and question ourselves if recession is a curse or is it in fact a blessing in disguise? I choose to think the latter.

Sometimes the race against time prevents us from appreciating the simple things in life, but recession has once again fine tuned our lives and reconnected us to the priceless pleasures of life. What are some of these invaluable, simple things in life?

According to a new research conducted by the University of Nottingham, simple pleasures like a bar of chocolate, a long soak in the bath, a snooze in the middle of the afternoon and a leisurely stroll in the park are identified as things that make us the most happy and keep our sanity in check.


A woman walks on a rainy morning past apartment blocks in Chicago, Illinois, Tuesday, Nov.17, 2009. (THP Photo/Maria Khan)

Imagine yourself in the midst of planning a day out; you will start off by driving to a fine restaurant, spending several hard earned dollars over a meal and end the day with a trip to the local theatre to feed your celebrity obsession. How about an alternative plan, where you gather a few friends, prepare a home-cooked meal, spend the day in a park, along the lakeside or in an outdoor recreational area and end the day with a fun-filled round of board games. If you choose to opt for this plan, consider a buy one get one free benefit. For starters, you will not only save a few bucks on your food and leisure, but you will also cut down your cost of car fuel consumption. As a bonus, you will better the society by cutting down on air pollution.

In addition to the monetary and environmental gains of surrendering the worldly pleasures, another unexpected upside of the economic hard times is a longer life span. Research conducted by the University of Michigan‘s Institute for Social Research on the Great Depression reveals that the life expectancy for Americans actually rose by a shocking 6.2 years, while mortality declined during the recessions of 1921 and 1938.

So what will up your happiness quotient today, can a Master Card really buy you a million dollar smile and can diamonds really be your best friends? The choice is simple, but the results are poles apart.

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