Whether it be due to age, downsizing, a slow economy, or exporting business abroad, there are ways to cope with your situation and change your reactions to hard times.Counselors like to use “reframing” when helping people deal with difficult situations.Here are a few examples:“I really hate my mother-in-law. She is always interfering in our lives and has my husband at her beck and call.”

Reframing this thought:

“Everyone has positive and negative qualities. Millie (Using her name erases the stereotypical connotation that mother-in-laws often have.) can be annoying at times, but I know she really loves her son and wants the best for him. Maybe if I try to really get to know her and how she operates, I can build a better relationship with her.”

Now let’s try this with being laid off.

“It is terrible, awful that I was laid off. I am a loser, stupid and incompetent. I will never find another job.”

Reframing these thoughts:

“My career counselor told me that she has never had a person come back to her after being fired, laid off, etc. and said they would like to have their old job back after the initial shock wore off. The vast majority of people find that it was time to move on anyway, whether it was due to an obnoxious boss, change of job duties, or just not the right fit for one’s abilities.”

So, examining our thoughts about our current situation and then reframing them in a positive light helps to lighten our mood and motivate us to take action.

As James Baldwin said, “The only way to overcome fear is to do.”

As a counselor, I would add:

“Take a look at where you are and take immediate action (even if it is just calling the Unemployment Office). Once you take ANY action, it  helps make you feel less depressed so that you can move on and accomplish your goals.”