Mad about the bailouts? Here's how to chill out

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Many taxpayers are angry and they should be. As our government allocates millions of dollars to bail out homeowners who bought beyond their means, people who have been responsible with their money are crying foul. Many of us have put off buying a house or doing repairs because we could not afford it, yet tax dollars are bailing out those who were more foolish.

I look at all these bailouts and wonder whether we are simply rewarding bad behavior and poor money management. I have owned three houses and never bought the most expensive house I could "afford." Personally, I like discretionary money -- the bucks I can just spend on whatever I want. You don't have that if you are "house poor."

I know that some folks were given misleading information from loan agents about what they could really afford. But, come on. I saw a lady on TV upset that she couldn't keep her $350,000 house on her $12 per hour job. Did she really think she could afford that? Talk about denial. Didn't she look past the first year or two of minimum payments to know what her house would really cost?

But rather than anger about the bailout messes, most of the time I just walk around feeling grateful. Grateful that we have a house, a job, and most importantly, our health. I am keenly aware that so many do not have these things. Add the love of friends and family, and I feel I just have it all.

Research shows that simply focusing each day on three to five things for which you can be grateful will increase your health and happiness. Gratitude, practiced daily, will help you approach life with more optimism and joy. At the close of each day, ask yourself what you are grateful for. What has inspired you? Touched your life? Then share what you have with other people less fortunate. Pretty soon, you won't care about the bailouts.

Barbara Bartlein is the People Pro. Barb is featured in Chicken Soup For the Soul: Christmas Cheer. Get your copy NOW for the Holidays.

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