Recession-Proof Your Mind

This article is reprinted from my newsletter sent out in the Spring of 2009.  After 4 years, it still rings true today

These days listening to the news is a little like passing an accident on the street–it’s gory and awful, but somehow you can’t quit looking.

If you take on all the depressing, negative information as if it’s happening to you personally, maybe you shouldn’t listen to the news. It’s one thing to be informed about the issues, but these days the media is so reactive that I carefully choose where I get my facts. I’d much rather spend my energy pulling in more positive information. If something REALLY big happens, someone will let me know!

In spite of my best efforts, I find the news about the economy–and some of the realities we are facing in my household–pulling me down emotionally at times. But I think the key is that I realize I’m LETTING it get me down and I can pull myself out of those depressing thoughts.

How? First by eating foods that give me energy, rather than drain me of it. By working out on a regular basis, and trying to balance my life with some relaxation and play time.

But I think the most important thing for each of us is to pay attention to what we’re thinking. If our focus is on the Dow Jones, gas and grocery prices fluctuating daily, those other “crazy” drivers, etc, then our focus is on people and things we have no control over.

I’ve watched as our society has increasingly become one with a “quick-fix” and extravagance mindset–where more is always better. I had a real estate agent become angry with me a few years ago because I “qualified” for so much more than I knew I could afford! (Today, we all know where that mindset led).

I see this recession as a sign that we need to put our focus back where it belongs–inside, where we DO have some choices. When we’re at our lowest point is when we’ll generate the energy to propel ourselves to a higher place. To get a ball to bounce, we first have to let it drop. The harder we bounce it, the higher it goes when it comes back. We all know we grow from the rough times of our lives. It might be too hard to imagine right now, but we can even be grateful for these times. And that can generate more positive enery to move forward.

Which brings me to my last point. Behind every obstacle, is a hidden opportunity. If you find yourself jobless or with less income, maybe this is the time to get training for new skills or to consider starting a business in a field that has always excited you. Or if you just get anxious listening to all the negative news, maybe now is the time to find a way to conquer some of those fears that keep coming up.

Staying focused on what we can’t control doesn’t help our mood. The doorway to higher places and opportunity opens inward.