12/07/2008 05:12 am ET Updated May 25, 2011

Avoiding Financial Trauma Stress Disorder

It was a fantasy-land wish to see the election victory Obama and a more progressive agenda fill the global economy with enough confidence to stop the downward spiral. Alas, no dice.

Day after day we're being treated to more news of the global financial markets being flushed further and further down the toilet. If you run a small business, it can be hard to hold onto hope and inspiration, because maybe this time things really are doomed.

Makes you wonder and doubt-did someone not buy from you simply because they didn't buy, or is this the beginning of the end of your business?

You don't want to stick your head in the sand. But if you did you might be able to stay inspired and motivated despite it all.

What's really going on? Well, you may just be sitting in a little financial market stress disorder and it's blowing everything way out of proportion.

Why Pagers Upset Me

For some reason a friend and I were talking about pagers. It was just a moment in a conversation, but I had to blink a few times. You see, nearly every time someone mentions "pager," I have a disturbing image spring to mind.

I was the responding paramedic in a rural area where two cars had slammed into each other head-on at very high speeds in the middle of the night. One car had been torn in half, and I won't give you the rest of the details. However, we discovered the cause of the crash later.

In one of the cars, a pager was beeping. We guessed the driver had reached over to read his pager and accidentally crossed the double-yellow line into the oncoming car. Tragic.

Unfortunately, when someone mentions "pager" this scene still pops up in my mind. Pagers aren't really used any more, but years later it still affects me.

This is a symptom of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). If you are exposed to very traumatic images once or just disturbing images multiple times, you can start to experience a mild form of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

Guess what's happening in the news these days with the economy? Watch, listen, or read too much, and you could, and I'm being serious about this, end up experiencing mild to moderate symptoms of PTSD. Just like other trauma, an ongoing financial threat plays havoc with our fears around survival and security.

Cycles and Transformation

Two things to remember: our economy has always run in cycles. Even with the stock market crash of 1929, the economy picked up again a few years later. With the various recessions and hard times we've had in the past things have always come around.

And with each of the those cycles, everyone may be affected, and yet some people still thrive and do well. The ones who do well will be the ones who can stay centered, grounded and make decisions from wisdom and love, not from fear and stress.

You can, and will, probably feel fear and stress. Just don't make business decisions based on those feelings. First return to wisdom and love.

The second thing to remember is that the world, our culture, is desperately needing transformation. Whatever your business is, if you are bringing heart to it, you are involved in helping this world become a better place. We need you. Your clients need you. Don't doubt that.

So, what do you do during these crazy times in our financial market? Let me share with you some of what we're doing.

Keys to Business Health When the Market Dives

• Avoid the News and Support Your Health

Well, you don't have to completely avoid the news. But you want to stop searing the words of calamity and fear into your head. When I was on a team debriefing critical incidents, such as when a really horrific shooting was displayed on the news, we told people affected to stop watching the news. You got the facts, now turn it off.

In addition, it's important not to change your routine. Get physical exercise, drink water, eat healthfully. Avoid systemic depressants like alcohol. Your system is dealing with a lot of fear out there, it needs all the help it can get.

• Stay Connected to Your Vision

This can seem simple, but the truth is your vision has a long-term aspect to it. That long-term aspect can see past the bumps and bruises that are happening right now.

By connecting to your vision, you don't have to fall into the fear that what's going on now is the way things will always be. Your vision speaks to you of the possibility of healing, growth and transformation, and it can keep your heart connected to what's real.

Here at Heart of Business we just worked on our five to ten year vision, and it sees far beyond any ups and downs that might go on over the next few years.

• Get Focused in Your Marketing

When people get scared, they pull back needing trust and reassurance. Businesses who also pull back look like they suddenly disappeared, and so your clients can lose faith in you.

Simply by showing up with heart-centered marketing, which emphasizes safety, empathy and connection, you can build more trust with the clients who really need you.

And they do, they really do. Their problems don't go away simply because the markets took a flop. In fact, now may be the time they need help more than ever.

It's easy to get scared when the world seems to have gone crazy. And, there are real pains and troubles that people are experiencing. But if you take care of yourself and don't get caught up in the news-loop that can give you Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, then you can return to wisdom and love.

With that reconnection to wisdom and love, your vision can carry you beyond the present moment. If you continue to show up for your clients and potential clients with wisdom, love and heart-centered marketing, then I have every confidence that your business can be a part of what will help the economy recover and thrive once more.

I'm wondering:
What steps you're inspired to take to care for yourself around the financial goings-on?