Recession Proof Your Optimism


Trying to stay positive during bad times is extremely difficult. I know. I have been there. I. be. there. Some days are better than others. One of the tricks I use is to give myself one day a week to wallow in self-pity and just be mad and grumpy at the world. Get it all out of my system. Then I try to be more positive and optimistic the other six days. 

If you are unemployed too you have more time on your hands than you probably want. What to do with all that time?

Following are a couple of ideas. Maybe you will find one that strikes your fancy. Maybe you have another suggestion.

Catch up on reading. This is a great time to read all the books you have ever said you want to read.

Listen to musicYour fave, of course.

Take a walk. Just getting outside is good medicine.

Make a child laugh. Read a silly book or sing silly songs.

Volunteer. Anywhere. In the last five minutes I just did an internet search and found this wonderful site, Volunteer Match, that will help you find volunteer opportunities near where you live. I searched for ways to help struggling readers and found about 30 opportunities.

New Job Opportunities ~ One of the great things about volunteering is it gets you out and focused on something besides troubles, and it also helps you to network. You never know when you might meet someone that will become a great friend for life or a contact for a future job.

Roll up the rug and dance. Don’t just watch dancing with the stars. Do a little yourself. Grab your spouse or one of your children and dance away. Doesn’t make any difference if you know the steps. Knowing how to dance has nothing to do with it!  How boring. It is attitude!!! It is all about attitude. Make up your own dance and name it after yourself. Just move and swing with the music. I guarantee you will be laughing and feeling good in no time. And when the kiddies go to bed, slow dance with your spouse.

Garden. First of all it is great exercise. I don’t know about you, but I can’t stay sad or mad for long when I am in my garden, even the small patio type I have these days. I think it is being outdoors. Being outdoors lifts my mood.

Watch movies. If you don’t have enough money to rent them these days,  get them for free at the public library. WOW!!! What a concept! For filling out some very basic information on a piece of paper they give me a card and I can take books, magazines, videos, DVDs and all manner of things home to my house for FREE!!!!! All I have to do is promise to bring the stuff back.

What a concept. Who dreamed this stuff up? Genuis.  Might just catch on.

Include laughter in your life daily.

I hope you include a few comedies in your movie choices. And some funny TV shows too. Laughter can really be beneficial to your health and to your longevity, as well as aid in staying positive and optimistic. I talked about this last winter in Send in the Clowns.

Today I want to either remind you of, or introduce you to Norman Cousins.

Norman Cousins was an editor and a writer, an advocate for world peace, and a student and a writer on illness and healing. In the 60’s he was stricken with a life threatening collagen disease. After being in a hospital he decided that just being there was depressing. So in consultation with his very skeptical doctors, he decided to try his own therapy. This consisted of mega doses of vitamin C and laughter therapy. Laughter therapy was simply watching Marx Brothers movies and reruns of Candid Camera.

This was before the days of VCRs so it was not so easy to get a movie projector and the movies and TV show. Cousins found he could manage his pain with does of laughter. Long story short, his disease eventually went into remission. He wrote the book, Anatomy of an Illness, a classic in alternative medicine and laughter therapy.

Back then this was radical stuff. But Cousins was a pioneer. Research into the power of laughter began soon after Cousin’s experience.

The new research shows that the mind and the immune system are connected. If you laugh and are optimistic the body is healthier.  (Holistic on Line, Laughter Therapy)

Some of the health benefits of laughter include:

Boosts the immune system

Boosts the circulatory system

Enhances oxygen intake

Relaxes muscles throughout the body

Triggers the release of endorphins (the body’s natural painkillers)

Helps in balancing blood pressure


So go rent or check out from the library some funny movies. It may well be the best medicine you can take till this recession is over.

Featured Recipe        Pork Chops and Baked Beans 

This recipe is the adult, sophisticated version of that all time childhood favorite meal,  Beans and Weenies. Pork Chops and Baked Beans will make you feel like a kid again.

This is a simple and easy recipe. But I always say that, don’t I? It is just that I have spent a life time collecting recipes like this. This recipe comes from Cooking For One Is Fun by Henry Lewis Creel; NYTimes Books, 1976. I just increased the ingredients to serve three. This recipe can be made for any number of people.

This is what you will need for 3 people:

3 pork chops

2 – 16 ounce cans baked beans

Dijon mustard

3 slices sweet onion

3 slices lemon

Pepper to taste

NOTICE: I am up to my old tricks. I left one ingredient out of the picture. Pepper. My brain needs a memory upgrade.

Here is what you do:

Dump the beans into a casserole with lid that will hold all of the pork chops.

Spread mustard all over the top of each chop. About 1-2 tablespoons on each chop should do it.

Put the mustard covered chops on top of the beans in the casserole, and then add one onion slice on each chop followed by a lemon slice. Sprinkle pepper over all.

Bake covered at 400 degrees for 30-40 minutes. Remove the cover the last 10 minutes of baking.

Medium chops like pictured here only take about 30 minutes. Thicker chops will need the entire 40 minutes. Do not over cook the chops or they will get dry. A touch of pink is not only OK these days; it is desirable, especially if cooking loin cuts of pork. Trichinosis is no longer a health issue. And pork is much, much leaner today than it used to be. 

I like to serve this meal with a salad of just grapefruit slices. The sweetness of the beans goes really well with the tartness of the grapefruit.



3 pork chops                        $5.66

2 cans baked beans              $1.00

Dijon mustard                      $0.60

3 slices sweet onion              $0.70

3 slices lemon                       $0.40                         

Pepper to taste

Total Cost = $8.36
Cost per person = $2.79

Bon Appetit!!!!!

Quote of the Day:  Hearty laughter is a good way to jog internally without having to go outdoors.   ~Norman Cousins

This post was edited on 10/17/10 by changing the last two pictures for clearer shots of the finished dish. RAH

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