Wednesday, October 08, 2008

4 Tips for Beating Bailout Election Malaise: Give, Laugh, Appreciate, and Look for the Open Door

Last Saturday I woke up early in the morning from a dream where I'd been crying. The last remnant of the dream that came wafting through before I woke up was, "Stop watching CNN."

Since then, I've been feeling like I've been fighting a cold, but I'm starting to think it might be something else, (BEM) Bailout Election Malaise* (yes, I just made that up). Reading reports of the hatred being expressed at McCain/Palin rallies, dreary economic news, and reports that we have 100 months till the tipping point for climate change, I haven't really feel like getting out of bed, have you?

For me, and for you, here are my 4 tips for getting through Bailout Election Malaise (BEM):

1. Go on a news fast

It's hard to turn away from the train wreck that is playing on the news these days, but just like slowing down on the road to see an accident creates a traffic jam, watching and reading too much bad news can slow you down too.

Take a little break from the news. Watch a comedy, or read a funny book. I just moved all of the dramas and documentaries down on our Netflix list, and moved up all the comedies.

2. Give

The Civility in the Workplace blog writes that according to the book, Gross National Happiness: Why Happiness Matters for America--and How We Can Get More of It by Arthur C. Brooks, "people who give money to charity are 43 percent more likely than nongivers to say they are very happy. And volunteers are 42 percent more likely to be very happy than nonvolunteers."

According to a March 2008 New York Times article, Yes, Money Can Buy Happiness . . . by John Tierney, a recent study published in Science magazine found that, "spending money on others promotes happiness more than spending money on oneself.”

There are so many ways to give: money, skills, time, advice, a kind word, a listening ear. A fun way to give, and be part of a larger community, is to join the 29-Day Giving Challenge.

3. Keep a Gratitude Journal.

Today my husband and I learned that the wife of a friend, who was diagnosed with cancer not that long ago, has just a few days to live. Life is short and surprising. Take a little time each day to write down the things you appreciate in your life in a Gratitude Journal. The These Three Remain blog is keeping a gratitude journal for 1,000 days (she posted her 100th entry yesterday).

4. When One Door Shuts, Another Opens: Keep an Eye Out for Your Open Door.

It's not easy to see them, but there are opportunities that appear even in the most challenging times. The Triple Pundit explores some of them in the post, Is There a Green Upside to the Economic Meltdown?, and Treehugger's post, Frugal Green Living: Seven Tips to Get Recession Ready points out that,

"[A]lmost all of the things that we preach as being good for the planet are also good for getting recession-ready; use less stuff, lower your heating bills, reduce your use of electricity, make your own dinner -- all these things that make less carbon dioxide also save us money. Most of them make you healthier too."
According to the September 1999 New York Times article, Route to Creativity: Following Bliss or Dots? by Natalie Angier, creativity may actually be enhanced by limits, "the real source of productive creativity may lie in art's supposed bugaboos: rules, structure, even the occasional editor or two." Although we are entering a time where we have less economic and natural resources, those limitations may inspire greater creativity and innovation to create solutions.

* According to Wikipedia, malaise is, "a feeling of general discomfort or uneasiness, an 'out of sorts' feeling, often the first indication of an infection or other disease. Malaise is often defined in medicinal research as a "general feeling of being unwell."

Flickr photo credit: Happy uploaded by Bev Sykes.


  1. You are so right, Britt! I've been feeling exactly the same way.

    and I agree with the 'Give' part. i started to feel better when i started writing some fundraising materials - offering others the opportunity to be a part of something really meaningful and deep - not another fear-mongering sound bite - felt really good.

    thanks for this post!

  2. Anonymous7:30 AM


    I'm very grateful that two years ago I found your inspiring blog. :)

    Thanks for the link to the "100 Days till the tipping point for climate change" article. (I forwarded it to family and friends.)

    I went to a home energy efficiency forum last night and after reading the "100 Days" article I feel a greater sense of urgency to take actions to reduce my utility bills and environmental impact.

    Thanks, Britt!

  3. Hi Abby and anonymous.

    I'm glad it helped. I'm definitely feeling better after writing it.


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