I have been busy with my practice, literally changing and saving lives, and I have also been learning the world of Twitter. I have found some wonderful people on Twitter, and though I was reluctant to get started with another social networking venue, it has been fun and rewarding. You can follow me here: @KarlZimmerIII.
Now, back to the topic of this post. We all hear the reports by the various media about how awful things are with our economy. We hear the reports about unemployment, mammoth companies like GM and GE turning into fractions of their former selves, and the financial markets at their lowest levels in several decades. So with all that bad news, is it any wonder that we all feel so awful?
One simple solution is to not listen to the news, to just ignore all that negative press. We could all turn off the news and watch some good old sitcoms in syndication or use our cable systems’ “on demand” feature to watch funny movies. We could, and that might not be such a bad idea. Adults laugh about one tenth as often as children do, so should we even wonder why we are stressed and tired most of the time? I think we know the answer to that, but perhaps we don’t know what to do about it.
In addition to the simple solution above, which will actually help your state of mind a great deal, here is another proven method for improving one’s mental state. It is called “reframing,” and it is a powerful process you may have done before without even knowing it. Remember the description of an optimist being one who sees the glass half-full and a pessimist being one who sees the glass half-empty? Well, that is simply a reframe. The glass has the same amount of liquid, but one description seems more positive than the other.
How does that apply to our current economic situation and how we all feel about it? Take the unemployment news as an example. The most recent report was that unemployment reached 8.1%. I won’t even address the tone of voice any given reporter used to convey that news, but just take the number itself. That rate of unemployment, 8.1% ~ reframe ~ there is 91.9% employment! Doesn’t that sound quite a bit better?
Another way to look at it is, if something around 4.5% is full employment (defined as, “natural unemployment – everyone who wants to work is working; a non-accelerating inflationary growth rate), then eight percent unemployment doesn’t seem quite as awful. Sure, for those who are losing their jobs, it feels awful at the time. But, what if they find a job that is even better than the job they lost? Would that be so awful? Would they be able to find that job if they hadn’t lost their other job? Is that a way of reframing the situation to create a better state of mind? Yes, and when we are in a better frame of mind, we are better able to be creative and to find solutions to our current situations. If we are stuck in the muck, it is hard to see beyond it.
Whatever you do, make sure you are finding time to relax, to have fun, and to create more positive outlooks. Use any downtime you might have to create an empowering vision of your future, and then take steps to get there. Remember the Serenity Prayer by Reinhold Niebuhr:
God Grant me the Serenity
to accept the things I cannot change,
the Courage to change the things I can,
and the Wisdom to know the difference.
You are responsible for how you feel, so take charge. Go well, and get on with it!