The Recession: Coping Mechanisms

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The Recession…argh! This Recession was really bringing me down for a while there. A person can’t help but to internalize the constant stream of bad news. And it’s everywhere you look: The newspapers, the morning shows, and the financial shows like Bloomberg. I’ve written about this phenomenon before. It’s all well and good to complain and let off a little steam but a solution should always be offered. I will offer useful ideas that will help the civic-minded person to cope with and triumph over the Recession. Let us begin.

My biggest gripe with the current environment is the overabundance of BAD NEWS…we must take steps to counteract this negativity. This NEGATIVITY is a virus that surely affects everything that a person does: His soul, his intellect and his body. How do we do defeat NEGATIVITY?

We go back to basics. Permit me to get a little personal, if only to offer an example of how to implement a simple plan. I’ve recently gone back and revisited some of my favorite tv shows that I enjoyed while growing up: Hogan’s Heroes, The A-Team, McHale’s Navy, The Odd Couple, and The Three Stooges. All these shows demonstrate positive themes while engaging in zany comedic antics of every sort. I must admit that I borrowed this idea from Norman Cousins ( He used the very same method to beat cancer) and it is nothing short of genius.

Ok, let’s assume that we’ve spent a few days watching some of our favorite shows and we’re now a little more upbeat, hopeful even. Now what? Let’s backtrack just a little…In the past I’ve occasionally worked two jobs to support myself while in school. Whenever I worked those crazy hours I always promised myself that as soon as I had the chance that I would spend more time with Friends and Family. Well, that time is now.

You place a few calls here and there, make suitable arrangements and before long you’re visiting with friends and relatives that you hadn’t seen in a while. What is more enjoyable than this?! Nothing compares to breaking bread with people that are important to you. It helps to have family to encourage you if you’re in a difficult circumstance and they will surely lift your spirits. And who knows, some valuable job tips may result from this as well.

We’ve spent hours watching Monty Pythons and we spent the last two weekends with our friends and relatives. That annoying cousin that you avoided all through childhood? Now he’s calling you every other day wanting to hang out… Some collateral damage will be unavoidable. We feel pretty good now, almost balanced. Now what do we do?

PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT. That’s right, I used all caps-it’s that important. We all have hobbies and interests that we toy around with on the side. We may even spend a fair amount of time on these endeavors. I’ll assume that all of us now enjoy a little more free time as a result of employment cutbacks. This is the ideal circumstance to become enterprising, to try things that you always wanted to do but somehow never got around to doing.  A few months ago I rounded up some items that I was no longer using ( an amp, assorted textbooks, congas) and placed them on Ebay. The result? A cleaner, more organized apartment and some much-needed funds to boot.

Now is the time to decide if we want to become serious about our hobbies or interests. Whatever our creation may be, we ought to let the Market decide what its value is. So go ahead, place your hand-crafted tables, chairs and baskets on Ebay (or some other open auction format) and prepare to be impressed by the value placed on your handiwork.

Another important area that needs to be addressed is SELF-EDUCATION. Too often people believe that when their college education is completed they can pretty much rest on their laurels. This could be nothing further from the truth! The education gained from the university should serve as the all-important starting point. This has never been a problem for me as I have always been an avid reader. Nevertheless, finding the time to sit down and read a book or manual can be challenging if one has to contend with a growing family. It’s imperative that one makes a habit of setting aside an hour or two daily to devote to studies. This habit will pay dividends when mastery over difficult subjects is achieved.

The last topic that needs to be addressed is the never-ending and highly annoying “to-do” lists. We all have them, whether we write them on paper or inscribe them in our brain. These lists are usually comprised of  unrelated, marginally-important, but necessary tasks. Things like changing the oil, getting the brakes done,  fixing the faulty plumbing and patching the driveway. These are not critical tasks. We’d all much rather be hanging out at the bar enjoying some frosty brews than cleaning out the gutters. Nevertheless, if we are to be men of action and worthy of respect, we are compelled to perform and complete these tasks if only to ensure the happiness and safety of our wives and kids.

Let us recap. We can cope with and succeed in spite of the Recession by focusing on:

  1. Classic tv shows
  2. Friends and Family
  3. Hobbies and skills
  4. Self-education
  5. Household tasks

So there you have it: BELIEVE, CONCEIVE, ACHIEVE!

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