Let’s not let the endless doom and gloom get to us. The media and the government seem to love battering us with miserable stories but they weren’t exactly brilliant at predicting the current crisis or protecting us from it were they? So maybe they are all missing something that’s just around the corner that could actually go right – who knows?! After all, just after the last recession we got the internet and digital boom … so do get creative and get us out of this one… :>)
Our parents and grandparents lived through far worse, with world wars and a far less generous social system than we have today to support us. They lived with years of uncertainty that was not just economic but life-threatening. Talk to them about it, or to your elderly neighbour – you often find that the ‘old dear’ down the road has actually driven tanks and parachuted out of planes… far braver than battling the bugs on the District Line every morning.
But of course misery and negativity depletes our immune system so it is hardly surprising that we have a record number of flu and cold bugs going around. So focus on the positive and at least you are more likely to stay healthy and live longer as there is now a good body of evidence to show that optimism and happiness increase health, longevity and wellbeing. (And if you’re worrying about how on earth you’ll afford to live longer then optimism also increases your chances of success in sales and career and it can be learned – through Positiveworks of course! www.positiveworks.com )
The human mind tends to fret about things that may never happen. So enjoy what is going right. And if today you have some money in the bank, a job perhaps, a roof over your head, a pet, a friend, someone you love, or someone who knows and understands you then rejoice. A quick scan of world events shows us that the problems we face in the UK may be difficult but nothing like as bad as in some other parts of the world.
Also can we please have a revival of common sense: it has been under-rated recently and it has a lot going for it. Many regulations assume we have none of our own – that we have to be warned that we could cut ourselves if we aren’t careful how we use scissors to unwrap our Christmas presents. Surely we know that this is the case, that life can be risky – that grass is slippery when wet. Don’t we?
So listen to your heart. Intuition has been proven by recent research to be spot on in helping us make decisions. But you knew that didn’t you – you didn’t need a University research project to tell you. If something feels right, do it; if something doesn’t feel right then don’t. Intuition usually speaks to you through your body – if you feel tense with someone it is for a reason; if you feel light and happy with another person then there is a message in it. You don’t need books to tell you this: you just need to tune back into your self. (But of course do buy my latest book Cognitive-Behavioural Coaching for Dummies http://eu.wiley.com/WileyCDA/WileyTitle/productCd-0470713798.html )
The Credit Crunch has raised discussion about excess and ‘affluenza’. Certainly a rebalancing of what is realistic and sustainable is required at all levels. But there is little point in waging a war on wealth-creation in itself. There is no intrinsic goodness in poverty: in fact poverty divides and wrecks individuals and communities. Several people are now admitting that they ‘always knew’ that what they were doing in lending money to people who couldn’t afford it was wrong but they did it anyway in order to follow a target, gain a perk. Similarly others took on debt that they knew they couldn’t afford. So follow your own moral compass of what is right or wrong but honest toil is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. If we make money we are able to employ others, avoid living off the State, be philanthropic and give to charities. I found this quite an interesting article on this subject:
New perspectives are what is called for, not a return to what was. Einstein commented that we can’t solve a problem from the same place in which we created it. When it comes to your own life get creative and look at situations anew. Spend 30 minutes identifying as many ways as possible of finding a solution. The HBDI Herrmann thinking profile works brilliantly to stretch your brain and ensure you integrate creativity and realism, see http://www.positiveworks.com/products/thinkingpref.htm
You can change things: every voice matters. Even if it is just to develop a positive energy around you at home or at work. But if you care about something, write a letter to a paper or your MP or to Boris, write a blog, comment on a website, join a lobby group, volunteer for a charity, smile at someone on the tube, do any small thing that expresses what you feel strongly about. You may not be able to change the world, or your whole organisation, or the government, or the country but you can make a difference to those immediately close to you and surely that is worth doing.
Finally, fun doesn’t have to cost much. We can enjoy family, friends, good health, kitchen suppers, books, reading, listening to music, making love, dancing, going to an art gallery, playing with the paint pot your aunt bought for the kids, walking in the park, all at minimal cost. So let’s act to make this year a really good one and prove those doom and gloom merchants thoroughly wrong!
Happy 2009! Helen