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Caution: Angst is in the air, and it's catching

I don't think I can take any more.

The economy is tanking. The politicians and the media are making me nuts, and now it looks like I'm going to have to sell my blood if I want to keep my kids in macaroni and cheese.

Oh, and did I mention that thanks to falling home prices, I probably owe more on my house than it's actually worth?

I just want to go back to bed, pull the covers over my head and have somebody wake me up when my 401(k) bounces back.

I don't know about you, but I'm finding myself so jittery about money that it's all I can do to surf the net for more horror. Kind of ironic, isn't it? I should be working more, but I'm so depressed and anxious about my finances that I'm actually working less.

Alas, such is the world of grown-ups. Stress, anxiety, depression. And to think that I wasted much of my childhood wishing I could be in charge of my own life. Why in the heck did I ever think that was a good idea? Give me a few cookies, a blankey and a nice place to lie down and I swear I'll never complain about an early bedtime again.

These are tough times indeed. Even if you're still OK, you'd have to be one cold, hard rich person to stay immune to all the angst in the air.

So how do you cope? How do you get through today when you're so worried about tomorrow that you can't see straight?

I overheard a news commentator say that people are thinking twice before they go out to eat or buy new clothes. I'm guessing that those are the people who still have jobs. Because the people without jobs aren't spending a nickel on anything except cheap carbs and keeping a roof over their heads.

Yet as depressing as our collective and individual situations may be, the last thing we need to do is let our fear get the best of us. If you spend all day quaking and anxious, guess who wins? The Fear.

Yes, I know FDR had a roof over his head when he said "we have nothing to fear but fear itself," but he was right. Every moment you spend paralyzed with fear is a moment you could be doing something, or resting up so that you can do something tomorrow.

It's been said that there are only two emotions, love and fear, and all the other emotions are derivatives of those.

So I'd like to make a suggestion, let's chose love. Let's decide to love each other and to love ourselves, no matter what happens. And if you're really a Pollyanna, maybe you can join me in deciding to love the fact that this crisis is serving as a call for us to become our better selves. A call for us to look within and rid ourselves of consumerism, greed and the need to keep up with the Jones.

Perhaps this is a chance for all of us, and I include myself, to decide that we love our country and we love our fellow human beings more than we love our stuff.

Yeah, I know it sounds hokey. But you don't change your circumstances until you change the thoughts that created them. Besides, pulling together with love in a crisis sure beats cowering under the covers in fear.

Snellville resident Lisa Earle McLeod is a nationally recognized speaker and the author of "Forget Perfect." Contact her at www.forgetperfect.com.