High gas and food prices, a struggling economy, real estate woes -– it’s pretty easy to get all revved up on stress in today’s unstable world, only to feel like you’re just spinning your wheels. Sure, anxiety and skepticism are an understandable response, but they don’t do much to remedy the situation. Instead, staying calm and moving forward, even if you have to do it slowly, is the way to eventually win the race.
Sheree Triplett, LCSW who works at Lakeland Regional Medical Center in the Behavioral and Addiction Medicine Outpatient Clinic says, “Mental health goes a long way with your physical and mental routine. Stay with the routine you’ve had in place through times of stress.” In addition to striving for a positive attitude, it’s also important to take solid, practical steps toward making your own position within a precarious economy as stable as you can. While it may feel counter-intuitive, the number one piece of advice for good personal financial health is to keep your money in the market. Compare it to the weight loss game – if you’re overweight, starving yourself is not the way back to a healthy weight.
“From a mental health standpoint, when emerging from the holiday season and experiencing stress from financial problems, if you can focus outside of yourself, it helps you feel better,” Triplett points out.
And if all this sounds appealing, but you’re still stuck on the “maintaining a positive attitude” part, you might also want to consider investing your resources in a life coach.
“A life coach is a great idea,” says Triplett. “They work on the places where people can’t move forward and bring out a person’s strengths while being positive.”
According to psychologist and master certified life coach, Dr. Patrick Williams, founder and CEO of the Institute for Life Coach Training, Palm Coast, Fla., the goal of life coaching is to teach people how to focus on their strengths in the present, even as they gain additional skills for facing the future. Unlike a counselor, a life coach only gets the cliff notes version of your background, and then quickly shifts the focus to what you want for your future, broken down into the next 30 days, six months and two years. The goal is long-term objectives with doable plans.
A lot of coaches give a free 30-minute session so consider trying it out, or get started by taking the University of Pennsylvania Positive Psychology Center’s Signature Strengths Questionnaire, at AuthenticHappiness.org.
“A life coach will help you determine what’s realistic with your resources (including money, time and friends) and what’s a pipe dream,” Williams says. “You gain control of a design for the future so that you don’t feel so oppressed in [times of difficulty].”
story By ANNA SACHSE and DIANNE NUTTING