Much has been made during the week of the deluge of bad economic news and the self-fulfilling blight this creates for the UK economy. Let’s get that bit out the way first and then examine if there are any reasons to feel cheerful.

We are warned by Mervyn King that “The banking system is facing a full blown systemic crisis…an exceptionally threatening environment”. According to the Office for Budget Responsibility we are facing an unprecedented squeeze on consumer spending, whilst the Institute for Fiscal Studies has described the UK as facing a “lost decade”. Meanwhile the Euro crisis continues to lurch from one “final chance” to another. The latest “plan” being floated calls for greater fiscal unity going forward and a greater interventionist approach from the ECB to protect Italy and other troubled states from escalating debt bond yields, perhaps financed with the aid of €200 billion from the IMF. This takes place in a context where the heads of several multinationals, including Unilever, Philips and Shell have publicly said that “it is one minute to midnight” in the fight to save the currency…”. The implications for the UK if the Eurozone breaks up are stark – with a 7 percent fall in output being predicted.

The trouble with this kind of Tsunami of bad news is that it has a draining effect on the confidence of businesses and consumers. This results in them being less likely to implement spending decisions which would provide the best solution of all to these problems – by encouraging a return to economic growth.

How can Governments negotiate with businesses and consumers to feel differently and more positive about these problems? One clue lies in the adage that if you can’t influence a problem, you can at least choose how you feel about it. So, lack of confidence in a negotiation can be countered by giving yourself a talking-to, and gradually shifting your own point of view.

Using this approach you can go from thinking “I always do terribly in negotiations” to “Well I did do ok in a negotiation last week”, and then “This time I’m even better prepared than last time”, and then “I’ve got a particularly good team around me for this deal”, and then “I’m well-prepared, with some good arguments”, and then “Actually, there’s no reason why I should do badly this time “and finally “In fact I’m feeling pretty confident this time”.

Maybe Governments should encourage us to adopt a similar approach in thinking about our economic woes. That way our thinking could move from “Oh My God it’s going to be a disaster” through to “Well, the economy has always recovered from previous recessions”, and then “Governments are working flat-out and collaboratively to turn things around”, and then “Actually, the massive changes taking place in our economy mean that we have a great opportunity to do things differently”, and then “There can rarely have been a time when innovation and entrepreneurship is more welcome”, and then “I’m going to take advantage of these unique conditions and make sure that I respond to the business opportunity that exists to make a difference”.

If we all thought like that, it would make a difference not only to ourselves but to others too – influencing others begins with influencing ourselves. If others began to think that way too, maybe our economic prospects would very soon seem less bleak, and the newspapers would have to find something else to be gloomy about.