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How to Handle Unexpected News

No one likes to be blind-sided, but taking a step back can help you deal with news you weren't expecting.


  • Step 1: Get on with it Stay busy at work or focus on your family when the world seems to fall apart. Refuse to allow your emotions to rule and accept the inevitability.
  • TIP: Read "Murphy's Law" about the regularity of setbacks and supposedly bad luck. If they happen almost every day, how could they be exceptions to the rule?
  • Step 2: Plan your emotions Expect the unexpected and plan your emotions. Don't expect everything to work, like it never does: remind yourself that things go wrong and it isn't the end of the world.
  • Step 3: Find the positive Prepare yourself to find a positive in whatever the circumstance is and refocus your energy to make it better. It's a learning experience -- a chance to grow. When all you have are lemons, make lemonade.
  • Step 4: Count on a support system Count on a support system in cases of death, job loss, accidents and other critical emergencies. You can't do everything alone. You have friends; use them now.
  • Step 5: Think of others Think of others and offer what help you can. Take your mind off your own needs and ease the pain.
  • Step 6: Make a Plan B Make a plan to anticipate downturns and sudden changes. Unexpected news is especially bad news for people who aren't looking for opportunity.
  • FACT: The number of suicides rose in 2008 by more than 1 percent over the three previous years, to 33,185 from 32,800.

You Will Need

  • Something to keep you busy
  • Family
  • Emotional planning
  • Silver lining
  • Support system
  • People to help
  • "Plan B"
  • "Murphy's Law" (optional)

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