Tuesday, 21 April 2009

How Is Everyone Feeling?

I don’t know about you, but it does look as though there are very real green shoots appearing in the economy. Although it can depend on what we read, watch and listen to. For instance, yesterday, the FT reported that the CBI announced that the “Worst of the Recession is Over.” I have to admit that reading that made me feel optimistic. In the evening I watched the Channel 4 News, all of which was bad, ranging from the economy to local and global news. Not the kind of media coverage that would give rise to feelings of optimism and hope.

Our feelings are often determined by our thoughts. Shakespeare said, “There is nothing either good or bad, but only thinking makes it so.” Our thinking is influenced by what we read, see and hear. So keeping a watchful eye on these sensory experiences enables us to be more alert to what pleases us and what displeases us. Moreover, how it affects our attitudes, levels of confidence and moods.

Earlier this year, one of my clients was having a challenge around feeling upbeat about his business. This was partly because of the extreme negativity from the media. I asked my client to tell me about his reading habits. He told me that he read The Times on the way to work and on his way home from work. He added that he reads the sports pagers first and the business pages last. I asked how he felt after reading the sports pages. He said, with a smile, “Very good.” I asked how he felt after reading the business news and he said, “Terrible.” He now reads the sports pages last. He told me that this new habit has helped him remain more optimistic.

Russell Crowe, who knows a thing or two about the media, said that journalists should write their stories with objectivity and deliver the information with the ‘truth of the moment.’ If only. We all know that the media is not bent on telling us the whole truth and nothing but the truth, that’s not exactly news. However, what might be news for some is how we are affected when we read the news. I took a media diet for about six months. I chose to only read, watch and listen to news that left me, at best, feeling optimistic or at least neutral. Having had a six month holiday from reading and listening to bad news, I feel stronger. I am now able to ‘bounce back’ relatively quickly to news that would otherwise have rendered me emotionally exhausted.

Here’s some good news…

“The UK economy appears to have escaped a recession, with many economists and business leaders now forecasting a spring recovery”. BBC NEWS

"Spring has brought with it tentative signs of an economic recovery, particularly in the retail and service side of the economy,” said Ian Fletcher, chief economist at the British Chamber of Commerce (BCC).

Feeling any better?


Steve said...

Hi Malcolm - Always a brave man who mentions 'green shoots of recovery...', but I know you don't mind taking a few risks! :)

Nice blog - I hadn't thought about how I read the newspaper before...but it sounds like a good tip...

Malcolm Levene said...

Hi Steve,

Thanks for posting a comment.

You know, before I posted this blog, I thought about whether I should mention 'green shoots.' Or, I should day, not mention those two words.

As you say, I 'don't mind taking a few risks.' As far as being 'a brave man' is concerned, well, I'm not sure about that. However, given the topsy-turvy media reporting on the economy, bravery might be the one thing that enables us to really move on.