The Wall Street Crisis:

Fighting your Fears

People are paying a price for the economic crisis on Wall Street. And it's not just hitting their wallets, it's affecting their health.

Psychologists say when a money meltdown like this happens, it's particularly disturbing because people don't completely understand the situation, and feel as if they've lost control.

  Most people manage. But Dr. Reginald Richardson at the Family Institute in Chicago says some people may "stop sleeping, stop eating.... and it may become the only thing they think about. That's when it's getting to the point where it's really problematic and there's some intervention that's probably going to be needed."

But Dr. Richardson says there are a few things you can do that can prevent you from getting to this point.

For one thing, he suggests knowing your body well enough to immediately identify that you are stressed by the situation. "Your body is a great way to tell you what's going on, " he says.  So the first time you get that tell-tale tightening in your stomach, clammy hands, and quickened breathing:  that's when you should do whatever relaxes you. Take a walk around the block, or do breathing exercises for example.

Another perhaps surprising suggestion: don't be afraid to be angry.

Richardson says that, "Anger's good. That's a discharge of those feelings and emotions, and it depends on what you then do once you recognize that you're angry." He suggests that when people choose to write their congressional representatives, or protest in the streets.... those healthy expressions of anger help release stress. 

Another suggestion: limit your exposure to bad news, whether it's on the internet, on TV, or in the newspapers.  Be aware of how much you talk about it, and if "you walk into a space and people are bemoaning the situation and you don't want to do that, get yourself out of the situation."

If there's no way to avoid Debbie or Darren Downer, and the stress is mounting, then do less.  Ten things on your to-do list? Just do the essential five, and let the rest go.

 Finally, Richardson says it's more important than ever to have balance. Yes there's bad news, but schedule a lunch with a girlfriend, or a basketball game with the guys: or a yoga class that you've been meaning to take.  They are all reminders that along with the bad, there is good.

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