The Blog

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jack Canfield Headshot

Emotional Health In Down Times: 5 Steps To Staying Positive And Productive

Posted: Updated:
Print Article

In these troubled economic times, when everywhere you look there's more and more evidence of how bad it is "out there," we have to remember that how successful you are and how peaceful or distressed you are is a result of what you focus your attention on. Remember that fear is self-created by focusing on something in the future that hasn't happened yet.

A student in a recent seminar had been living in fear for the last year that he would lose his house. His family is still in that house. Every single minute of fear that they were experiencing was self-created by imagining being thrown out of their home. The truth of the moment is they were safely in their home. Stop imaging the worst and focus on your own personal present reality. Even if you are unemployed, you are still alive, still living somewhere. Focus on what you do have, and be grateful for it, rather than on some future negative scenario that has not happened yet. A wonderful acronym for fear is Fantasized (future) Experiences Appearing Real. Turn off CNN (Constantly Negative News) and turn on your own inner movie of that which you want to create in your life. Live from your vision, not some externally created "reality" piped into your brain by the media. Look for the positive in your life and celebrate it.

Here are 5 more things to keep in mind that will help you keep your emotional wellbeing in check no matter what's going on:

1. Keep Dreaming Big.
Don't let your inner critic inhibit you from dreaming big. As soon as you commit to a big dream, visualize it daily, and really go after it, your subconscious creative mind will come up with big ideas to make it happen. It will also help you to problem solve your way through challenges and create positive outcomes beyond your temporary struggles. As you continue to dream big, you'll start attracting the people, resources, and opportunities you need into your life to weather any storms and make your dreams come true. Big dreams not only inspire you, but they also help you to get through tough times and put certain things into perspective. And remember this, it doesn't take any more time or effort to dream a big dream than a small dream. So if you are going to dream anyway, dream big.

2. Believe in Yourself. If you are going to be successful in maintaining your emotional health and creating the life of your dreams, you have to believe that you are capable of making it happen. Make the decision to believe that you create all your experiences--both your successes and your failures.

3. Stop Complaining. As you commit to believing in yourself, also make a commitment to toning down the blame and complaint department. Look at who you are blaming and what you are complaining about. I'm fat. I'm tired. I can't get out of debt. I won't ever get another job (or a better job). I can't stand the relationship I have with my father. I'll never find a soulmate in life. The economy is to blame. My spouse is the cause of my unhappiness. My boss is ruining my life. Really examine your blaming and your complaining. More than likely, you can do something about them. They are not about other people, other things, or other events. They are about YOU. Decide what you want, and create a plan to get it.

4. Turn Paranoia on Its Head.
Imagine how much easier it would be to succeed in life if you were constantly expecting the world to support you and bring you opportunity. Successful people do just that. Don't assume the world is a brutish, unwelcoming, and a difficult place to be. Try thinking the opposite! And turn paranoia inside out.

5. Use Affirmations to Build Self-Confidence. One of the most powerful tools for building worthiness and self-confidence is the repetition of positive statements until they become a natural part of the way you think. Create a list of 10 to 20 statements that affirm your belief in your worthiness and your ability to create the life of your dreams. Here are some examples of affirmations that have worked for others in the past:

  • I am worthy of love, joy and success.
  • I am smart.
  • I am loveable and capable.
  • I can create anything I want.
  • I am able to solve any problem that comes my way.
  • I can handle anything that life hands me.
  • I have all the energy I need to do everything I want to do.
  • I am attracting all the right people into my life.


No matter how well you plan and how well you execute your plan, you are bound to meet with disappointments, adversity and failure along the way to your ultimate triumph. Adversity is what gives you the opportunity to develop your inner resources of character and courage. Adversity is a great teacher. It will test you and make you stronger, but you have to hang in there and not give up!

More than 4,000 years ago in China, Confucius wrote: "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."

© 2009 Jack Canfield

Jack Canfield is America's #1 Success Coach, co-founder of the billion-dollar Chicken Soup for the Soul brand, and a leading authority on Peak Performance. If you're ready to be more accomplished and have more fun in all that you do, get your FREE success tips from Jack Canfield now at: www.FreeSuccessPrinciples.com.