11 Ways to Stay Positive in a Bad Economy

How often have your heard about how bad things are going in the last month or so? I hear it everywhere I go. Every meeting with a client or colleague, every get-together with friends, and every informal chat with family is filled with references and discussions about the bad economy, job uncertainty, the stock market plunge, and many other variations of the negative news that surrounds us.

It’s easy to get discouraged when you feel like the world around you is crumbling to the ground! What can we do to stay positive during these tough times?

Here is my list of 11 things you can do today to break free of the negativity and embrace a lifestyle of hope and encouragement:

  1. Hang out with optimistic people. I can’t overemphasize enough how viral optimism can be. Resolve to spend at least 10 minutes every single day with the most optimistic and upbeat people you know, and you will immediately kills off any bad thoughts.
  2. Start/develop a hobby or home business. An activity outside of your regular job gives you the opportunity to practice something very enjoyable and extremely personal. It also gives you the feeling of being responsible for something other than your “regular” duties at work and at home, which can be a very positive thing when done in moderation.
  3. Use time away from responsibilities wisely. Don’t neglect taking care of yourself with exercise, mental stimulation, spiritual healing, and social interaction (the four “cornerstones” of personal renewal). Use time away, whether a normal evening after work, or a specially planned vacation, to renew and refocus your energy.
  4. Read inspirational material. Seek out inspirational quotes, books, blogs, television shows, or whatever brings you the most internal joy and motivation. Share it with others to spread the feeling.
  5. Make the most of down time at work. If your responsibilities at work are slow, don’t let the time go to waste or “expand” your work to fit the time given. Instead, seek out activities which can help the company be successful in the long run and do them today.
  6. Strengthen relationships. Relationship-building is the key to success when everything else has fallen to pieces. Use times like these to strengthen your relationships with friends, family members, and colleagues in and outside your field. Contact old friends and use the power of the Internet to its full advantage!
  7. Keep your eye on recovery. It may seem like it’s a long road ahead, but recovery is inevitably at the end of this cycle. Understanding and looking forward to this time period can help keep you focused and transcend the “bad” for the good times ahead.
  8. Use this as an opportunity to “clean house.” For many people, an economic downturn is the perfect opportunity to reset and clean up their act. It’s also a time that reminds us of what’s most important.
  9. Turn off the news. Nothing is quite as depressing as getting a daily dose of negativity pumped straight into your brain every time you turn on the television or read the newspaper. Stay away from market reports and the daily news, or make it a point to avoid bad economic news and focus on rebuilding efforts, instead.
  10. Empower your strengths and develop your weaknesses. Make an inventory of what you are best at, and resolve today to use those skills to the best of your ability. Then decide on what weaknesses you would most like to work on, and develop those until they are no longer a hindrance.
  11. Mind your “circle of influence.” There are many things in this world that you have control over directly, just as there are many over which we have very little to no control at all. Keep your focus on what you can change, and let go of everything else.

It’s easy to get bogged down when things aren’t going so well, and fall into a vicious cycle of depression. Before you get to that point, use some of these methods to keep yourself and those around you genuinely motivated and encouraged about what’s ahead. Don’t forget that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Do you have ideas for staying positive in today’s economy? Please share them here!

Here are resources for further reading on this topic:

Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/caitlinator/ / CC BY 2.0

7 thoughts on “11 Ways to Stay Positive in a Bad Economy

  1. Mark Lewis says:

    “Strengthen relationships”

    Great advice! And when it comes to strengthening relationships during hard times like these, you never know how you might be able to help someone or how they might be able to help you. Getting in touch with old friends and making new friends creates opportunity.

  2. Hang out with optimistic people

    Great point. Find those people who are like-minded in their overall goals and build each other up, rather than contributing to their downfall. In the bad times are where true friends are found. You may find more ROI on this than any stock tip!

    Keep up the good work, Fizzle.

  3. Wojciech Kulicki says:

    @Mark – I totally agree. I’ve also noticed that people get extremely un-selfish during times like these and will do almost anything in their power to help you out when you need it.

    @Jason – As I’ve read in book after book, you won’t be thinking about the office or your stock returns on your death bed, you’ll be thankful for all the loving friends and family around you.

  4. Pingback: Learn The Basics of Investing - Edition #197 of Carnival of Personal Finance
  5. Brady says:

    Here’s the thing though. There’s a fine line between staying positive and denying the reality around you. “9. Turn off the news” sure the news is depressing, compared to who won American Idol. or Lady Gaga’s new outfit. Really? we are literally heading into the next depression and you want to stop watching news? you could just be one of the other MILLIONS of spoonfed comsumerist zombies waiting for a government full of corruption and greed to give a crap about you. I’d rather direct my lack of positive thinking toward stocking up on food and seeds (to grow my own food) see how well that optimism gets you when you are fighting off waves of rioting hordes when gas gets over $5 a gallon and food doesnt get delivered to your local grocery store.

    • Wojo says:

      Not sure why ignoring the news is akin to waiting for the government to take care of me. I’m taking plenty of steps to be self-sufficient, but watching reports every night about how bad things are doesn’t help my cause.

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