Feeling Our Way Out of the Recession

Are you angry or sad about the economy? Good. How our emotions can help bail us out

Baerbel Schmidt / Getty

The inauguration gave some Americans a reason to revel for a couple of days, but overall, ours remains a sullen nation. If you haven't been laid off, you're probably working harder, maybe for less money--and almost certainly with less job security. People are anxious, depressed--and pissed. Which raises a question: Is there any way to use these emotions to help us pull through this mess?

Actually, yes. Over the past few years, psychologists and behavioral economists have been studying how emotions affect our decisions. You can make a good argument that complacent cheerfulness, in the form of blind faith in our...

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