Upside in the Economic Downturn
By Theresa Rose
Yep, it’s really bad out there. It seems like not a day goes
by without another story of doom and gloom hitting the airwaves or
whispered around the water cooler. We are living in the most
challenging time in recent memory: people across the country are
losing their health insurance, jobs, homes, and retirement savings.
The negative effect of the current circumstances in which we live –
both on a financial and an emotional level – cannot be
underestimated. Unfortunately, there is not a lot we as individuals
can do to change the global financial system. However, constantly
reminding ourselves of how uncertain our future is does a great
disservice to our professional lives as well as wreaks havoc on our
attitudes, relationships and health.
Despite the bleak forecasts, all is not lost. In fact,
contrary to conventional wisdom, the financial crisis may actually
contain several profound benefits buried beneath the bad news. If
you want to survive the economic maelstrom with your job,
relationships and health intact, consider acknowledging the
potential gifts the downturn has provided:
There’s no doubt about it; the wake-up call has been made. We have
been forced to reevaluate what truly matters. What is really
important to you right now? Is it the big house filled with big
stuff or the precious people in your life? Is it the numbers on the
401(k) account statement or your blood pressure numbers? Is the
Monthly TPS Report really worth fretting over? By realizing that
our health and family are far more important than anything else, we
are able to separate distractions from necessity. What good is
obsessing over our jobs if the price we are paying is our well-being
Our tighter wallets
are forcing us to consume less and conserve more. Recycling and
reusing are becoming more than popular catchphrases; they have
become an integral part of our everyday lives. We are driving less
in order to save on gas, eating last night’s leftovers for lunch
instead of going out to eat, and being more conscious of what we
throw away. Whether it is an overhaul of all business expenditures
or simply refilling the printer toner instead of buying a new one,
this unintended shift of consciousness is not only benefiting our
financial future but also the health and sustainability of the
Many people are enjoying “staycations” as opposed to vacations,
opting to spend quality recreational time at home or nearby.
Investigate the local attractions you and your family can check out
on the cheap. Is there a state park you have heard about but
haven’t yet visited? Maybe the local high school or college is
putting on a theatre production that you and your spouse would
enjoy. Embracing the pearls found within our local communities is
giving our pocketbooks a much-needed rest and reminds us that we
don’t have to escape our current environment to have fun.
Everyone is feeling the pain of our national crisis; there is no
longer a nameless, faceless “other” who is affected. Not unlike the
unheralded unity created after 9/11, the national rocky road we are
all traveling upon is helping to create a deeper camaraderie. We
have moved away from the “me, me, me” mentality toward a “me too”
one. By experiencing this journey together, we are more
compassionate toward our fellow Americans than ever before.
This is the perfect time to build upon your skill set. What
technical skills can you brush up on to solidify your organizational
value or make yourself more marketable? How about dusting off your
favorite hobby and turning it into an additional income source?
There is a multitude of hidden opportunities for growth and
prosperity if we open ourselves to it.
No matter how bad the situation, we can always find things to
appreciate in our lives. Ask yourself the following questions: Do
you have a job? Do you have a home? Do you have people who love
you? Are you healthy? Sometimes we need major difficulties to
remind us of how rich we truly are. It doesn’t take very much
effort to find someone who has it worse than you. Now is the ideal
time to be grateful for the countless blessings.
offers us a chance to move into uncharted territory instead of
shrinking into the collective fear. Now is the time to discover the
best of who we are, not allow the worst of ourselves to appear.
When we shift our inner focus from depression to appreciation,
everything around us begins to change as well. We no longer get
trapped in our own misery. Our family and friends become our
strongest allies. Our employers see us as part of the solution
instead of another problem to manage. Our outlook becomes hopeful
instead of hopeless. We position ourselves at the forefront of the
recovery effort. Most importantly, we realize that we are
responsible for our own happiness, not the latest economic report or
a sound byte from a cable news show. Remember: this too shall
pass. How do you want to experience this critical juncture? Do
you want to be full of fear or full of joy?
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