How to Deal with the Doom and Gloom

Every other conversation leads to the doom and gloom of the economy. What should I do with my retirement accounts? Will I have a job tomorrow? If you pick up any paper or tune in to any news station it doesn't take you long to begin to feel that the end of the world is near.

Society and the financial markets are reacting to the recent harsh corrections in our financial and real estate markets. There is worry about yet another recession that will directly affect the lives and well being of billions of people around the world. 

Without a doubt, these are unsettling times. However, they will come. We will adapt. And we will all get through it, just like every other challenge we have endured in life. History is our best teacher! We will endure these challenges just like we have the other 15 recessions since the mid 1940's. In fact, with much stronger, mature, and diversified economies and financial systems, the recovery will be more robust than ever. 

Nevertheless, in times like this the naysayers and media have a tendency to focus on the negative and not discuss the positive. Unfortunately, one of the things about negativity is that it becomes a self fulfilling prophesy. Research conducted at the University of Chicago and Essex University in the U.K. has shown that it is very easy for our brain to get fixated on negative information. It seems humans are programmed to take positive or neutral news in stride, but to shepherd an extraordinary amount of attention on negative developments.  In a society where you can receive news around the world 24 hours a day; the impact of negativity can be overwhelming.

In a world that has 6.7 billion people; there is always someone or some region in crisis. Change is the only constant and the news plays on the crisis; not the victories. A study was conducted by the Center for Media and Public Affairs showed that in a time when the actual murder rate in the U.S. dropped by 13 percent, media coverage of murders increased 300%.  Other studies have shown that over 70% of news stories are negative and foster a sense of helplessness. Bad news sells!

When you add the natural negative bias of our brain, with the media's fanatical obsession with bad news, and technology's ability to deliver us bad news 24/7, you can excuse yourself from feeling a little down these days.  

This is not to minimize the current challenges our world faces. Nor am I advocating the ostrich approach of sticking your head in a hole until times get better. However, in stressful times, if you are going to stop being part of the problem, and start being part of the solution, you will have to proactively manage your life and your situation. 

Following are some suggestions that might help you in stressful times:

  • Take time each day to unwind, relax, and let go of the stress. Determine what activities work best for you to relieve stress; such as, listening to music, exercising, walking, dancing, or meditation/prayer.
  • Acquire financial, economic, or editorial information from reliable, professional sources. Balance the quantity of information to a healthy level for your well being. Seek information outlets that offer the least amount of bias.
  • Choose carefully whom you have repeated discussions with regarding current affairs; negative people will bring you down. It is very beneficial to discus such topics with upbeat successful people.  
  • Generate a plan that leads to success; whether it is financial, emotional, or career, a well executed plan will produce long term rewards. As you enjoy your success; the opportunities present themselves to help others.
  • Develop an attitude of awareness! The grass is not always greener on the other side of the fence. Recognize the things in your life that you may take for granted and appreciate the value of family, friends, and life’s blessings.

Following these suggestions will help get through the tough times and enable us to enjoy life as we live it!

The United States is a great place to live; we have persevered through many troubling economic times and been victorious. The current bump in the road will become a faded memory in the near future!

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