Techniques for Finding Balance Amidst Calamity

by Alan Weiss PhD -

Here is some advice for overcoming the slings and arrows of the catastrophists. We're experiencing unprecedented (at least in our lifetimes) economic turmoil but this, too, shall pass. 

• Never act precipitously.  
'Knee jerk' reactions are worse in crises. Be patient. Retain your common sense. Panic always deteriorates decision quality. 
• Ignore the 'pundits.'  
There is a pundit for every occasion, every season. In highly complex environments, no one really knows what's going to happen. 
Some of the media people have a certain duende. It's superficial. 
• Seek and restore personal relationships.  
It's far tougher to gather strength in tough times when you're suffering interpersonal conflict, whether with family or friends. 
Make it right, or make it go away. Establish meaningful new relationships whenever possible. 
• Find the positives.  
There is seldom total gloom. There are personal, business, community, and collaborative opportunities. 
• Help others.  
There are few activities as therapeutically cleansing and invigorating as helping others to overcome problems and see opportunity. 
Studies have shown that people donate money not merely to help others, but because it makes the donor feel better. 
• Stay healthy.  
Emotional stress can be, literally, a killer. Engage in a fitness routine, which will provide surprising emotional reward as well as physical improvement. 
• Treat yourself, no matter how minor the treat.  
George Ade, the humorist, once wrote, 'Don't pity the martyrs, they love the work.' 
• Learn for the future.  
Whatever is causing you the most grief often has remedial potential. Create a larger cash reserve. 
Provide for more discretionary time for yourself. Proactively reach out to others. You get the idea. 
• Laugh.  
Use the media to help you laugh. In the Great Depression, people spent a nickel that they couldn't afford to go to the movies. 
Laughter improves your well being and ability to cope. 
• Be careful to whom you listen.  
Make sure they are doing, at the moment, what you seek to do, or have accomplished, in this climate, what you seek to accomplish. 
If self-help books were really effective, we wouldn't need them any more. Think about it.