March 2010 Issue --> Mindset Article
Five Ways to Feel Empowered During Challenging Times
By: Anne Leedom


Times are tough. Everyone is struggling one way or another. Perhaps you are being beaten down by the economy. You may be watching everything you have built over the years slip away. Or you could be one of the millions today who live in constant fear as you hang on by just a small thread every day.

There is a trickle affect this challenging economy brings to our lives. Relationships with our partners become more stressed as money becomes tight and depression and stress fill the air. We can't provide the best education and other opportunities for our children and we may be facing a retirement in which we will still be working long after we had hoped to slow down.

All of these fears and stresses add up to an ongoing dread that people are facing every day, and in many cases it brings a loss of hope about the future that many have never faced before. Coping with this emotional trauma is the most important priority we all face. When we are depressed and frightened it is hard to be effective in any part of our lives. Here are five strategies to help you cope and find strength during these challenging times.

  1. Surround yourself with positive people. This is getting harder and harder to do, granted, However, there are people who, in spite of their circumstances, forge ahead and find ways to approach each day with optimism and excitement. You may have fewer friends if you follow this strategy, but the ones you have will lift you up and motivate you daily.

  2. Do something you love everyday. For me, I couldn't cope without my music. Going for a drive each morning and listening to music fills my soul, reminds me what I care about and gives me the motivation I need to pursue my life every day with focus and enthusiasm.

  3. Stay organized. When things get difficult it is very easy to lose track of everything. Time, paperwork, schedules, appointments and even people all seem to fall into a black hole, simply adding to our frustration. Don't let chaos become your new best friend. Stay clear and keep your life, professionally and personally organized. Nothing is more draining than spending hours trying to find something essential that has been misplaced, or reestablish connections that have been damaged due to living our lives in havoc.

  4. Get Up and Move. While exercise is ideal and essential at all times, during emotional stress it is more important than ever to move our bodies. Research is clear that moving your body releases chemicals that make it easier to cope with stress. Work with your circumstances, not against them. A simple walk or a game of WII can work wonders to keep your mood up.

  5. Give Yourself a Break. It really is ok that things are not going as you had planned in life. Your finances and circumstances may have changed drastically, but if you can find the opportunities in the darkness, you may discover a new life you will love even more. Relationships do change, but they can change for the better. Most challenges bring wonderful new choices. If you allow yourself to let go of what has happened and give yourself permission to look for a new and different life, you may find that everything IS happening for a reason. You will see that it all really will be ok in the long run.
We can't control the journey but we can always control how we experience the journey. So focus on how you feel, not on what is happening to you in your life and you will feel empowered each day.

About the Author:

Anne Mattos-Leedom is the Founder of, a premier online placement agency for experts and authors. She is also the publisher of, a national parenting website for raising kids who care. She lives in Northern California.
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