How to Feel Up in a Down Economy

You have some control (some!) over your happiness


Only the loony disregard this crashing economy. Yet the prudent recognize it’s vital now to practice resilience, even virtue. It helps to be near friends who feel the same. (Who lifts your spirits?) So it also helps to know that we’re born with a set point for happiness.


The good news is that set point “determines just 50% of happiness.  A mere 10% can be attributed to differences in people’s life circumstances – that is, whether they are rich or poor, healthy or unhealthy, married or divorced, etc. This leaves a surprising 40% of our capacity for happiness within our power to change.” That’s

the theory of The How of Happiness author, Sonja Lyubomirsky and her two colleagues, Ken Sheldon and David Schkade.

Since we experience negative emotions faster, more intensely and longer, to enjoy life more we must cultivate a 3 to 1 ratio of positive to negative emotions, believes Positivity author Barbara L. Fredrickson.

Her suggestions to achieve this ratio sound familiar:

• Meditate

• Reduce exposure to negative news


• Cultivate kindness

• Connect with nature

She offers a  “broaden-and-build” approach.  In short, choose how you view a situation. If it makes you feel down, look at the bigger picture.  This reminds me of the “make a bigger pie” negotiation technique. When you feel you need more clout among the players in the discussion, involve more people.

As Frederickson notes,” pleasant emotions like hope, inspiration, joy, and well-earned pride literally open us. As the blinders of negativity fall away, we take in more of what surrounds us. We see both the forest and the trees. We appreciate the oneness that binds us instead of the barriers that divide us. Even race becomes irrelevant.”

The benefits of optimism, according to Frederickson:  

Positive thinking opens our minds.


Positive thinkers:

• See more of the world around them

• Are more likely to find innovative solutions to problems.

People imbued with positivity are:

• Healthier

• More generous


• More productive


• Bounce back from adversity more quickly

• Make better managers

• Live longer

So, let’s grab more moments to go on a walk/talk, pick up the phone to praise and to share our reasons to be grateful.