In the national economy, things are incredibly good right now.

The stock market is seeing record highs; our standard of living is up; banks, corporations, and the real estate market are all thriving. We’ve been on a decade-long incline since the Great Recession of 2008.

So…why doesn’t it feel that way?

Why is there a sense that the house of cards will come crashing down at any moment?

As a financial advisor, I usually have multiple conversations with people every day about the state of the economy and I've found that many people—the vast majority—have a pessimistic outlook. They wonder when the stock market will crash, when their home value will plummet, or when the U.S. will descend into general chaos.

They can see the writing on the wall because it’s all the news media talks about—disaster and doom.

I call this kind of thinking “foreboding joy.” It’s a kind of restrained happiness, an attitude of: “things are good now, BUT…”

Human beings are addicted to drama. We love the adrenaline rush that comes with apocalyptic scenarios. It’s so much more exciting to think about the country crashing and burning than to have things hum along as usual.

If there’s one thing I’ve learned (and try to impart to my clients), it’s that the stock market is fickle day-to-day, but steady over the long run. Despite the occasional downturn, it always picks itself back up and forges ahead. It does this through political turmoil, unpopular leadership, and “burst bubbles.” It’s the turtle that flips itself over and plods ahead.

Instead of “foreboding joy,” I challenge you to practice uninhibited joy.

Be grateful, with no strings attached. Look around you, absorb all your blessings, and be truly, deeply happy.

It takes practice to pull yourself out of pessimistic thinking and the “things are fine now, but what about tomorrow?” mentality. Start by paying attention to your thoughts and keeping the negativity in check. If you find yourself grousing about the small things (the weather, a smudge on your shirt, a few dirty dishes), you’ll apply that outlook to the rest of your life as well.

Let’s shake off all the foreboding joy that’s hanging over us. Be happy and hopeful. Prepare for difficult situations, but always expect the best.

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