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Don't Let Financial Crisis Stress You

If seemingly endless bad news from Wall Street – from yesterday’s (Sept. 29, 2008) stunning stock market free-fall to continuing bank sales, like that of Wachovia to Citigroup – stresses Sanatogans to a frazzle, a psychologist suggests it’s better to manage personal emotions than be overwhelmed by them.

Dr. Josh Klapow, associate professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham and the author of a book on changing health habits, says people made anxious by the financial crisis can take four concrete steps to deal with their stress. His tips:

  1. Act. “Make a family budget. Meet with an accountant. Trade in a vehicle for a more fuel-efficient model, carpool. Do things to help reduce your stress,” Klapow recommends.
  2. Step back. “Don’t saturate yourself with stressful information. Stay informed, but take a news break. Most people don’t need to track the markets minute-by-minute.”
  3. Stay connected. “Don’t let the rest of your life dwindle away. Make sure you pay attention to daily activities: family, friends, social occasions and recreation.”
  4. Take care. “Stress takes a physical toll,” Klapow notes. “Learn meditation. Do muscle relaxation. Occasionally breathe slowly and deeply. More simply, pay attention to your stress level throughout the day.”

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