I get it: Times are hard.

The stock market seems to be doing the stanky legg all the way to the bottom of the index. Even more job losses are expected in the coming months. Meanwhile many of the new jobs becoming available are the ones that offer low pay and no benefits. As a result, 1 in 10 Americans now find themselves on food stamps.  

The American auto industry seems to be a willing accomplice in its own demise.  Apple seems to be making it even harder to be a legal downloader. You would think both entities would be more inclined to appease consumers considering they’ve collectively tossed their credit cards to the side

It’s gotten to the point where even the flashy pastors are scaling back.

I know, I know: All of this bad news would go straight to your stomach if you weren’t so afraid of getting sick. You know, with you losing your health insurance and all one can never be too careful. 

Believe me, I feel you. I’m turning 25 on Sunday and I doubt many people will remember to call and wish me a Happy Birthday. There’s no way I can compete with Jesus. 

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As if that weren’t bad enough, my insurance card will become officially useless on that day. 

The way things are going it’s easy to want to wallow in self-pity. If only it were just as easy to perk up and smile. 

Or maybe it can be? I’m no psychologist, but many of you have medical benefits anyway so why not let me be your anti-depressant? 

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Here are a few things I do to get my mind off these trying times: 

1. Listen to music.

This only works if you think less like “Mo’ Money, Mo’ Problems” and “For the Love of Money” and more along the lines of “Must Be The Money.” Yes, that is a Deion Sanders reference. 

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Listening to the music of people who have no business making it can be really good for the soul. 

Whenever I get really down, I listen to LaToya Jackson’s “Just Wanna Dance.” When I hear her sing “Da-Da-De, Da-Da-Dum,” I immediately burst into laugher because I know she’s dead serious. 

Give it a listen. Or if you want to be more current, go with one of Meagan Good’s recently leaked tracks

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2. Exercise. 

There is nothing like running as if the police are chasing you to get your mind right. 

3. Reading.

I strongly advocate reading, but allow yourself room to take in less serious subject matter and get a nice laugh in.

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Blogs like Crunk + Disorderly, So Furious, and D Listed each do the trick for me. 

When I’m not on those sites, I check out Twitter.

This is a great site to find hilarious gems like, “There’s a liquor store off Crenshaw that has a sign out front that reads, ‘We excepts the EBT.’ LOL every time I think of it, it brings me joy.” 

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Now I’m passing that joy to you. Poor grammar and all. 

4. TV

I love to watch The Real Housewives of whatever given city is airing at the time. Don’t judge me. All of those women are hilarious. Plus if you’re looking to learn how to stunt with a likely 500 credit score, the housewives of Atlanta are great guides.

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BAM! Isn't that right, NeNe?

If that’s not enough watching Jon Stewart eviscerate some of the people responsible for the country's financial troubles can be quite cathartic. 

5. Dance

Every morning I get up, check my email, and then proceed to grab my iPod and dance.

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Don’t doubt the power of dancing. After I got frustrated from “Dennis” in New Delhi for his poor customer service, instead of remaining angry I turned on “Hit The Bobby B.” and forgot all my troubles.

But make sure you pray first: Jesus before jig.

Now that I’ve told you what helps keep my spirits up, feel me in on what works for you.

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Email me at therecessiondiaries@gmail.com.

Michael Arceneaux hails from Houston, lives in Harlem and praises Beyoncé’s name wherever he goes. Follow him on Twitter.