How Not to Worry About the News

5 things anyone can do to limit exposure to, and fear of, news about hard times


The holidays are behind us. Back to a steady news diet of layoffs, bankruptcies, defaults, Ponzi schemes, bailouts, the deficit, dwindling property values, and a skyrocketing unemployment rate. Who could blame you for wanting to hide under the bed?

But what we tend to forget when we're being constantly bombarded with gloom and doom is that human beings and human society are amazingly resilient.

What's more, there are things we can do to become even more resilient:

1. Talk to someone a lot older than you. The older a person, the more hard times he or she has survived. Find out how.

2. Create a no-stress zone. Pick a spot in your home, maybe your bedroom, where you will not talk about or read about or think about current affairs.

3. Pretend you're more resilient than you really feel. Acting "as if" can make it true.

4. Take care of your physical self. Eat decent food. Get enough sleep. Exercise until you're tired. Your mental self will feel better, too, guaranteed.

5. Find something you can control. You can't do anything about most of the stuff that's going on in the world. That's what makes it so scary! So turn your attention to a few things you can control. You can keep a fresh, clean home, for example. You can improve your tennis serve or your Sudoku time or your golf score.

We are not victims of current events nor pawns of history. We are resourceful, tenacious, smart, durable, industrious, enterprising, able, and alive. Let's not forget it.

Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, to be released by Running Press in April 2009 (but available now for preorder at Amazon ). She blogs at .