One of the things you learn first in NLP Practitioner training is the difference between motivation 'towards' and motivation 'away from'.
Both are useful. Towards' motivation moves you to act for something you desire, like a great relationship or a new car. 'Away from' motivation gets you moving away from something, like a tiger bounding towards you, or a rampaging boss.
Have you noticed that when you are motivated towards something, you tend to be happier than when you are motivated away from something?
This played out in the Presidential campaigns. Obama showed people a picture of how things could be better, while McCain campaigned on fear, mostly 'away from' Obama -- those were the attack ads. And that is probably why everyone with whom I've spoken in the last day or so says, "I finally have hope" and feels better.
What you focus on, expands. For the last 8 years, we have focused on the negative, on what we're afraid of, and things got steadily worse. Now we will begin to focus on the positive, as a country, as a people, and things will slowly begin to get better.
But remember the laws of thermodynamics, which say that things tend towards entropy, and it takes work to reverse that. So what it took 8 years to destroy (due to intentional destruction, along with the forces of entropy), it could take many more years to build back up.