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The Green Sheet Online Edition

December 22, 2008 • Issue 08:12:02


Take action, banish fear

Negativity is a hallmark of the major media. Newspapers, talk radio, television and the Internet feed on the turmoil in the world and broadcast it directly into our brains.

If we dwell on this depressing worldview too long, we may become paralyzed with fear. Everything is hopeless, we tell ourselves. Everyone is out of work and losing their homes and life savings. Life is over as we know it. Give up.

Granted, life may be rough right now. Money's tight. That expected raise may have just evaporated. Maybe worries persist about another series of layoffs.

But giving in to fear is not the answer; it only keeps the networks' ratings up. The antidote to negativity is action. It is not panicked, hysterical, run-for-the-hills action, however.

Instead, it is controlled, calculated and decisive action. It is planning things, taking steps, working through problems, finding solutions. It is positive action.

Positive action fuels vibrant energy; vibrant energy fuels uplifting thoughts; uplifting thoughts fuel positive actions.

For whatever mess we find ourselves in, positive action is - and always will be -our salvation.

Following are examples of assertive steps you can take to minimize anxiety over the present economic situation.

Housing and transportation

  • Keep up with preventive maintenance. It will cost a few bucks now to fix that leaky faucet or get that banging noise the dishwasher makes checked out.

    But small problems now can mushroom into major troubles that require costly solutions down the road. The stress of dealing with a broken appliance is often much greater than that of simply maintaining it.

  • Practice similar diligence with vehicles. Get autos serviced regularly. For example, it may be tempting to save a few bucks and forgo an oil quick-stop, but the damage done to car engines greased with old, sludgy oil makes that $50 saved now look like chump change compared to the huge bill awaiting an engine overhaul or the cost of a replacement car.


  • Make wise spending choices. Financial discipline is critical. See how much money can be saved by cutting expenses that may be characterized as frivolous, such as designer coffee or monthly manicures.

    Divide needs from wants. Buy things that are necessary (fresh fruit and vegetables); don't buy things that are merely wanted (donuts and sugar cookies).

  • Downsize recurring payment services. Premium cable might have all the best shows, but basic cable is cheaper. Listening to satellite radio may be entertaining but AM/FM radio is free.


  • Work hard. Do the best you can at your job every day. Commit yourself to working better with colleagues and management.

    Fulfill your job description and then strive to go beyond it. If layoffs occur, you want to be the one the business cannot do without.

  • Look for ways to stay relevant in the industry. Enroll in education classes; obtain industry certifications; learn new computer skills; gain expertise in emerging technologies.

  • Investigate how to transfer your skills to other industries should switching vocations become necessary.


  • Don't skimp on health care. It may be tempting to put off dental visits or annual check-ups, especially if you don't have health care coverage.

    However, the last thing you need is to miss work because you got sick or had a dental emergency that could have been avoided with a teeth cleaning.

Mental attitude

  • Keep a positive outlook and surround yourself with people who share your optimism. Remaining positive in thought is taking positive action.

  • Be grateful. Consider what you have and the areas of your life that are going well. Take time to appreciate your family, your health, your job, your home and your community.

  • Branch out and try new things. Check out what your community offers in free classes and events. Investigate the options in nearby towns and cities as well.

Maintain an even strain

Regardless of what the media might say, we are not without control over our lives. Take positive action by changing spending patterns and behaviors. Perhaps the most important action is to change mental attitudes. Don't get caught up in the unrelentingly depressing media coverage. Remain calm. Keep a balanced perspective.

So we're in a recession. Now what are you gonna do about it? end of article

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