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Managing Fear in a Down Economy

Managing Fear in a Down Economy

Don't let fear take hold.

April 08, 2009

You feel it. I feel it. In this economy, it’s hard to ignore those sneaking feelings of doubt and fear that creep into our everyday lives. Will I be able to keep my job? Is my retirement account big enough? Are my savings slowly disappearing?

These questions are valid and obviously should be addressed if you feel REAL concerns and have solid evidence that maybe your finances aren’t going in the direction you planned. However, much of this anxiety and fear is all in our heads.

What this economic slowdown boils down to is fear. Plain and simple. We’ve been hearing in the news that major automobile companies are getting government bailouts because they can’t sustain the kind of sales they are accustomed to. Do you know why? Fear.

Consider the situation we’re in. Automobile manufacturers aren’t making enough to stay in business because people aren’t buying cars. People aren’t buying cars because they are afraid that they won’t be able to pay off the loan. Banks lose interest money they could have earned because no loan was ever taken out – and they tighten their policies making it harder to get a loan because they are afraid they won’t be paid back. Banks lay off employees because they can’t earn interest money. Automobile manufacturers lay off workers because they aren’t making enough revenue to stay afloat. And then more people aren’t buying cars or taking out loans. It’s a vicious cycle.

Of course, it all seems much easier when you aren’t dealing with your first layoff or a diminishing income from your investments. However, to manage your fear, I recommend a few simple things that will help you stay out of those cycles of panicky thoughts and negative emotions:

#1 Exercise.

Even just going for a 20-minute walk around your neighborhood can reduce stress, release toxins and get your blood flowing, improving your mood and lifting your spirits. Notice the beauty of the things around you – and more importantly, appreciate what you’ve got. Counting your blessings is one of the most rewarding things you can do for yourself, and doing it while exercising is a double whammy. You think you don’t have time? Stop reading this article, get up and go for a 5 minute walk right now. Bonus: It’s free!

#2 Reduce your exposure to negative information.

It’s one thing to be aware of what is going on in the world, but if you watch the news every night, chances are you’re tired of hearing about death, destruction, financial scandal, and God knows what else. Reduce your intake of these negative broadcasts. Even just turning off the TV one day a week (to take a walk, maybe?) will improve your mood and get your feet – and head – on the ground.

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