Avoid Joining the Mass Depression

Excerpted from ”You’re Better Than Your Job Search”

By Marc Cenedella and Matthew Rothenberg


Coping with the feelings that go along with a job loss is challenging under any circumstances, but job seekers find themselves dealing with negative group-think and perhaps even a mass depression.

Kathryn J. Fraser, a psychiatrist and associate professor of psychiatry at the University of New Mexico School of Medicine in Albuquerque, takes the notion a step further, saying that too much exposure to television and the Internet — regardless of the program — can have mental as well as physical consequences.

“I think it’s important that people limit their time [watching] the TV,” she says. “There are actual studies that show that too much TV goes along with increased depression. And part of it is, physically, people are just sitting there, watching something, and our bodies were not meant to do that. Again, back to evolutionary psychology, we need to be running around and doing physical exercise.”

In fact, experts tell  Ladders  time and again that regular exercise and eating right are key to maintaining the healthy mind and body that will be required for an arduous  job search. “We all sweat from anxiety,” says Elizabeth Friedman, a clinical psychologist in New York. “It is way better to sweat from a good workout. There is all kinds of evidence that exercise releases all kinds of good stuff in your brain and makes you more positive.”

Indeed, people will have to work hard to overcome the repeated rejection that can come with an extended job search. “The mind has to change to the concept of, ‘It’s going to take me a while to find a job,’ ” says Kevin Skinner, a marriage and family therapist who also shares his expert advice at MyExpertSolution.com.

“[Think], ‘It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when I get that new job. And until then, I’m going to be hitting up against a lot of rejection.’ And we don’t deal with rejection very well as human beings, especially when it has to do with our finances and being able to provide for our families.”

Michael Jolkovski, Ph.D., a psychologist and psychoanalyst in Falls Church, Va., agrees. “It’s sort of like the entrepreneur’s mentality, where people are doing something and the success is uncertain,” he says. “Just like certain salespeople — if they get a 1 percent response rate, then they’re doing well. They have to have the mentality to make 99 calls and say, ‘Well, there’s one more down,’ instead of saying, ‘Oh, I’ve been rejected 99 times.’ ”

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From “You’re Better Than Your Job Search” by Marc Cenedella and Matthew Rothenberg.