by Meredith Haberfeld
Oh no, it’s the “R” word – Recession! Currently heard and seen everywhere. Call it what you will; recession, slump, downturn, it has everybody edgy and fearing the worst.
It doesn’t help that we’re bombarded with questionable messages that financial and job insecurity can ruin everything! The media, in it’s infinite wisdom, loves to focus on and perpetuate anxiety and fear. C-R-I-S-I-S.
How do we ride the wave when it seems the essential trappings of our lives may be at risk?
A good starting point is to embrace the reality you encounter fully while understanding that the nature of your life is not static. The reality of today will not be the actuality of tomorrow or next week.
Tips for Tinkering with Happiness in a Recession
Meet challenges head on, not from a place of fear or intimidation but with clarity, daring, grace and innovation.
If there’s something real that you’re avoiding – take action to begin dealing with it today. Even if it’s just a small action. Get in action. And if you’re dwelling on your fear of what might happen in the future, bring yourself back to the present and deal with what is before you – head on. When we get lost in what should have happened (past) or what we fear will happen (future) – we spoil the only place we are actually experiencing life – right now, this moment. Come vacation here in the present, it’s nice.
Grow up about uncertainty and change. Wish as we might, we don’t live in a static and unchanging world. Change is the constant. We humans don’t do so well with change, we find it upsetting to go through. The reality of recession today will not be the actuality of tomorrow or next week. But the truth is – change is here to stay; everything about life is uncertain – so we may as well embrace it.
Choose wisely. Misery can paralyze and drain you, and not only in recession times. How you deal with difficulties is a choice. Your choice. You may resist that, it may even stump or anger you, but it’s the truth. Choose carefully what you’re focused on. Repeat – Choose carefully what you’re focused on. Are you replaying bad recession scenarios in your mind? Are you spending your day staring at the stock market on the computer and feeling terrible? If it’s not leading to positive action, AND it feels bad, cut it out. Do you keep using words like “terrible” or “crisis” (instead of, for example “wild”, “volatile” and “uncertain”). You can call skiing a great wild ride or an awful hurtling down a terrifying mountain. How you deal with anything is YOUR choice.
Choose carefully what you’re focused on, how you’re framing facts in the interpretation of your choice, and what conversations you’re spending time in. Abundance is everywhere, within and without, even in a recession. Open your inner bank account.
Let go of your crummy recession stories. Happy or sad or cold or warm are all different points on the graph of life. What’s so bad about feeling? If you don’t attach a big old STORY to it, feelings come and then go. Sad, scared, happy. Where we get into trouble is making up stories (that we think are capital “T” True) and sticking them onto the feeling – “this is terrible”, “we won’t be okay”, “I should have known better”. It’s the story you latch onto the feeling that’s the problem. Announcement: your stories are just your interpretation. They are not capital “T” True. You could loosen your grip on them. If you just let the FEELING come and go and don’t attach a STORY to it, it washes right through. Practice this – it works miracles.
Have FUN even while you’re on a Financial Diet. Write out what you’d love to be doing without regard for money and then identify what the underlying need or desire is. You can then start to discover ways to fulfill that longing with whatever is financially appropriate. You do not have to deprive yourself of fun and things you LOVE just because of the recession. Stretch your brain just a little – you’ll discover whatever the underlying longing – you can fulfill it completely with less mullah.
Don’t play in the dirt. Nurture your friendships; and choose them carefully. Share fun and play, but don’t fan the flames of anxiety. Listen, give back, be peaceful, be a good ally. If you have people around you dwelling in doomsday recession thinking, be compassionate that this is where they are in this moment, even offer up a different perspective if you like, but don’t hang out and play in that mudpit. That mud ends up all over YOU. Choose the conversations you’re spending your time in with intelligence.
Thanksgiving ain’t over. Real gratitude and appreciation for all we do have is a major energy key to peace of mind. And I’m not talking about a fake nod in this direction. Be grateful for what you can actually be grateful for. Kiss your difficulties on both cheeks! Use their sharp edge to get you off your keister and into your imagination zone that makes new perspectives possible for you and your future. Leave a thank you note for past experiences, for the journey from there to now.
Move your bod. Strengthen yourself physically, play ball, chase the dog, dance with a child, do whatever it takes to get your energy moving in ways that delight you and give you flexibility and endurance. The challenges you may face are better dealt with when you’re feeling at your physical best.
Take a walk. Go home metaphorically to Nature. It’s no cliché that green spaces calm and nurture. They also inform. Trees exist within their cycles, budding, blossoming and leaf dropping, nothing is lost. Wall Street might disdain such a simple lesson but you can gain from it when you realize that abundance ebbs and flows but is always present, always operating on a natural principle of plenty for all.
Invest NOW! Nurture and sustain yourself. Don’t let the turbulence of the recession make you feel impoverished and helpless. Make other investments elsewhere, such as in the emotional and spiritual parts of your life. Be anchored to the sacred (whatever you perceive that to be). Pray, meditate, be still in good solitude that you might connect to yourself in deep and powerful ways. Feel your own presence; get a sense of the Being you are beyond your thoughts.
The Recession Does Not Mean the Sky Is Falling
Yes, markets are wild, and the world is uncertain. The truth is there is nothing so terrible about an uncertain world. When you peel back the veil, that’s actually the very nature of life.
The reality of today will not be the actuality of tomorrow or next week. We need to stop wishing and hoping things were different. They’re not. Deal with it. Misery can paralyze and drain you, and not only in a recession. So why not try something else.
When you are fretting and fearful, you are living in an imagined world of a bad possible future, vs. the current reality; an outgrowth of upset over lack of control. When you stay in R-E-A-L-I-T-Y about what is happening in the moment, you’ll notice the present is actually survivable, even if it is not what you want.
But you can then think clearly, sleep soundly, and create powerful action in this recession.
From Sarah: Meredith is one of the best when it comes to Career, Life and Executive Coaching. She’s coached senior executives at Johns Hopkins University, JP Morgan Chase, among others and taught across the country. Visit her website to find out more about how she can help you deal with the recession.