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  • Dr. Steve Lower

Coping with the economic crisis

“Happy New Year!” The traditional greeting comes with a bitter aftertaste with so many among us being threatened in their very livelihood by the ever growing economic crisis. We do not have the luxury of simply waiting for things to return to normal. For some of us the proverbial wolf may not be at the door just yet. But even the most fortunate will perforce be affected, however indirectly.

How to restore some sense of control for the recipient of the pink slip (whom I shall hereafter call Dana, male or female?) In psycho-language the following suggestion is called “reframing.” The term refers to the deliberate decision to change the way we habitually think about something. Given that our feelings are controlled by our thoughts, in reframing a situation Dana can help himself think more rationally, use his strengths better, and therefore feel better.

I said “change the way etc…” Everything on earth is controlled by the forces of inertia. Essentially we want to stay put, not to make any effort. So when I say “change” I am already suggesting that Dana deviate from the path of least resistance. I am encouraging her to reach deep to any crumbs of energy she can still summon.

The most painful aspect of job loss is the sense of total of powerlessness. No matter how hard Dana has worked, no matter how much she has contributed to her employer’s earlier success, how great her needs, how many children are to be fed or educated, no matter…nothing matters. Dana is suddenly reduced to seeing himself as the impotent toy of circumstances way beyond control. He therefore feels as he has not felt since being an infant in a cradle as yet incapable of doing anything but scream to have his needs met.

Reframing the situation is going to require that Dana remain resilient, flexible, like the reed of the fable which withstood the winds of storm better than the majestic oak. Dana, I enjoin you, start thinking of your situation in terms of “I am changing jobs” or “I am given the opportunity to make a major career change.” Perhaps, Dana, you have wanted to go back to school to advance your career? Can you find scholarships while you live (more frugally) on your savings or part-time work or some other combination of resources that you would never use in normal circumstances? Think of this as an opportunity to be creative, to brainstorm with people you trust for new ideas both in terms of immediate income and for finding new ways of using all your talents, even the ones you have never activated.

If the above suggestions do not work for you perhaps you are suffering from depression which needs to be addressed promptly.

Don’t forget: support is available from your community and help from professional counselors who adjust their ways of working to the reality of the situation if they want to remain relevant. Happy 2019!

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