Archive for Monday, March 30, 2009


The psychology of a recession: Here are tips on how to cope

March 30, 2009


Fixating on the Dow Jones dips and spikes can be disorienting and a little nauseating.

But there are plenty of ways to reduce the stress associated with Dow’s daily fluctuations. Here’s some advice from Lawrence experts on how to beat the Dow Jones blues.

Find a distraction

Lawrence isn’t the cheapest place to live in Kansas, but it does have plenty of free distractions to keep you busy.

Museums, college lectures, libraries, parks, even walking down Massachusetts Street — all are free activities, and all are equally important to dealing with stress, says Marcia Epstein, director of Headquarters Counseling Center.

“People talk about having so much pain from being isolated,” she says. “It’s important to have conversations with people and be engaged in society.”

Epstein also suggests volunteering as a great free way to be actively involved in the community and minimize your stress.

Eat right

The 99-cent cheeseburgers and two-minute TV dinners may sound appealing to a life budgeted on time and money, but Nancy O’Connor, director of the Community Mercantile, 901 Iowa, says during stressful times, you’re best bet is to turn to whole foods.

Whole foods are foods that haven’t been processed and are close to how they’re found in nature, or, as O’Connor put it, “food in perfection.”

Though whole foods can be more expensive, O’Connor says they’re also more filling and give you the complete diet you need to help your body react to stress.

O’Connor also stresses avoiding sugar and caffeine.

Take care of yourself

Getting your full amount of sleep is another important step in handling stress, Epstein says.

Epstein suggests a few tricks to make falling asleep a little easier:

• Limit alcohol, cigarettes and caffeine before sleep.

• Remove media from the bedroom, including the TV and laptop.

Marta Schwartz, owner of Whitestone Wellness Center, says another way to care for yourself is to remove things in your life that don’t bring you peace.

“We do things that are really not that important,” she says. “If it’s not making you happy, you need to re-evaluate it.”

Schwartz also advises people to drink plenty of water and not to “sweat the small stuff.”

Treat yourself

In this fast-paced society, it can be hard to slow down and remember to reward yourself for your hard work. Turns out, an economic recession may be the best time to change that pattern.

Rent a new movie. Indulge yourself with a massage. Any way you shake it, find someway to relax, even for just a little while, Epstein says.

Talk about your problems

Opening up to people can be difficult, but when you’re stressed out, it’s exactly what you need to do, Epstein says.

“Keeping the pain and confusion of our situations to ourselves can intensify those feelings,” she says.

Whether it’s approaching a friend, relative, journal or counselor, Epstein says expressing your feelings is one of the best ways to deal with stress.

Be prepared

The country is in flux, and layoffs can catch you by surprise, so some financial advisers are telling their clients to watch their spending and prepare for the worst.

Dan Cary, a certified financial planner with Cary and Associates, Inc., says he advises people have three to six months’ worth in cash reserves and living expenses on hand. He says he also encourages budgeting and knowing your spending limits.

Don’t feed into the fear

On the other hand, Lawrence’s unemployment rate is 4 percent — that’s 3,600 of about 90,000 people.

The recession might be on everyone’s mind, but one psychologist said few people need to dwell on it.

Neill Neill, an author and psychologist from British Columbia, says people need to be aware of what’s going on but make the decision not to feed into the fear.

“Some people are really hurting, but it is not a large percentage of the population,” Neill says. “There’s a huge number of people who are not materially affected by the recession who need to get out there and spend as usual.

“That’s working together. That’s bringing the economy back.”


overthemoon 8 years, 10 months ago

get out there and spend as usual? how about get out there and give a hand where its needed?

Sharon Aikins 8 years, 10 months ago

Here's my cure for stress, I took all my money out of the hands of brokers. Ironically, at tax time, they told me I had made a few bucks last year. Guess when it came to brokers, I felt like a prostitute who was paying my clients.

Linda Aikins 8 years, 10 months ago

I hope you are kidding. That is putting duct tape on a dam leak....

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