Most places I go, people are talking about the economy, and they’re freaking out. They’re speculating on what will happen and how it will affect their lives. It can all feel pretty scary, and the fear feels contagious. Here are some tips to help you stay calm:
What’s Worked For You in the Past?
Think about a time in the past when you faced difficulty. If you’re here, you survived. Think of what helped you then. How did you approach the difficulty, and what strategies were helpful? How did you shift the situation? What calmed you? What helped you feel better? Was there any lesson there that you could use now?
Venting vs. Rehearsing
Many people think that “venting” helps them feel better - and sometimes it does. Venting is when you have something that’s been weighing you down, and you feel better when you share it with someone else who can sympathize or give you support or simply listen. But when do you cross the line into “rehearsing”? Rehearsing is when you tell the same story, over and over again, and each time, you experience the same anxiety or fear. Here’s a rule of thumb: When it makes you feel relieved to talk about it, talk about it. When you notice that you feel worse, stop.
Consider a Media Ban
I was having a great morning a few days ago, and then I opened Yahoo and the headline was about the Dow Jones average plummeting - and suddenly I felt anxious, even though nothing had actually changed. What we read and watch changes our perceptions and affects our emotions. If watching the economic predictions on TV or the Internet is affecting you emotionally, stop watching. Spend that time playing with your dog or taking a walk or listening to a song you like.
Pay attention to how your body feels when people are talking about the economy. If you notice tension or tightness, walk away from the conversation. Do something pleasant, or simply sit and listen to your breath.
Be a Flexible Tree
Here’s a tip I give to clients constantly: If you start to feel anxious, imagine you’re a tree. It sounds silly, but it works. Imagine you’re a tree, and you’re rooted to the ground. Trees are strong.