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How to Upgrade Your Spirit in a Plummeting Market

By Debbie Mandel

The heat has been sweltering in many parts of the country. America as a nation is in the hot seat, too. Standard & Poors has downgraded the United States’ credit rating and as a result the stock market is plummeting - desperate actions due to a fear frenzy. Our national psyche has always espoused the power of positive thinking – The little engine that could. However, believing that we have supernatural, positive powers to recoup our reputation and empowerment is simplistic. Instead, positive thinking can help us to live with ailments instead of succumbing to them as Abraham Vergese aptly put it. This is the time to breathe, reflect and take an inventory both nationally and personally: Stability before mobility.

Many are criticizing S&P for downgrading our country. Perhaps, S&P is taking the contrarian position to achieve notoriety. Or does it have the courage to call it as it sees it based on slow growth, higher household debt and other social trends even though its analysis might be unpopular? While I am not an economist, I can advise you about handling the stress of criticism.
  • First, determine if the criticism contains any truth – never obvious at the heat of the moment. Release your sense of judgment- there is nothing to judge, only to accept. If there are relevant truths, then accept the unpleasant evaluation to change what is not working.
  • If the criticism is not true and is really more about the critic, then pass the criticism on to its rightful owner.
When life’s stressors spiral out of our control, we need to get back to basics, the ABC of things to help us figure out how to rebuild. Our nation is as strong as its family units. Somewhere along the way most of us grew more complicated with our individual borrowing and spending out of control as we competed with the neighbors. Many students are still going into debt for pricey educations like law schools only to discover that there are no jobs or at least the kind of jobs they are training for and expect. Now is the time to simplify life and invest in our own self-worth, expanding this principle to family/friends, neighbors and community. Our country needs to change on the seed level. Each one of us has a vital responsibility to do better. Our nation was created by the common sense of the common man/woman. Use it!

How to invest in your own self worth:
  • Exercise is still rated triple A: Activity Alleviates Anxiety. Invest in your health savings account.
  • Don’t sweat the big stuff. While there are huge stressors beyond your control, deal with your daily realities, one at a time.
  • Stay centered in whatever you are doing, like washing the laundry or setting the dinner table. Do a good job for its own integrity.
  • How do you spend your time? Do you divide it with technology while you are with others who get a fraction of your attention?
  • Try the opposite route in your approach to find a solution and you might discover a different, fresher perspective. Is there something you have not considered? Think outside the box.
  • Take your ego out of disagreements – seek an equitable compromise.
  • Be attracted to the good – people, worthy causes and houses of worship.
  • Don’t drown in distractions, so busy and filled with responsibilities that you are not taking the time to breathe or enjoy your life.
  • Expose yourself to people who know more than you. What you learn could be life altering.
  • Imagine yourself as a simple housefly on someone else’s wall exploring and discovering. There is great joy in being ordinary.

Debbie Mandel, MA is the author of Addicted to Stress: A Woman's 7 Step Program to Reclaim Joy and Spontaneity in Life, Changing Habits: The Caregivers' Total Workout and Turn On Your Inner Light: Fitness for Body, Mind and Soul, a stress-reduction specialist, motivational speaker, a personal trainer and mind/body lecturer. She is the host of the weekly Turn On Your Inner Light Show on WGBB AM1240 in New York City , produces a weekly wellness newsletter, and has been featured on radio/ TV and print media. To learn more visit: