Mind over Money
It’s no surprise that 8 out of 10 people recently surveyed by the American Psychological Association said the economy is a “significant cause of stress.” But that doesn’t mean that an economic crisis has to get the better of you. Michael Groat, PhD, a psychologist for the Professionals in Crisis program at Houston’s Menninger Clinic in the USA, offers tips to bring some calm to the chaos.
Talking to others—even your Curves pals—about your money concerns lets you know you’re not the only one stressed. Plus, a friend may provide a nugget of wisdom that may help you make ends meet. “I’d kept my layoff to myself until I overheard another member tell a similar tale,” says a Curves member. “I struck up a conversation, and now we help one another search for new jobs and give support.”
CRAFT A PLAN
Sit down with your family and come up with ways to ease the burden. “Now’s the time to make some lifestyle changes,” says Dr. Groat. A Curves member adds, “When the economy started to turn, we held a family meeting with our sons (7 and 11). Without being prompted, they volunteered to swap one of their weekly activities with a play date. And we all decided to give up our regular movie outings. I was really proud of their grown-up attitude.”
“It’s okay to go for a while,” Dr. Groat says. Spend time with family. Research local events and places of interest that won’t cost you a dime.
TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF
“Engage in wellness activities. Exercise is a wonderful antidote for stress,” says Dr. Groat. What you don’t want to do, he adds, is try to ease anxiety with “vices such as overeating, smoking, or drinking.” Instead, eat right, get rest, take walks, and do things that rejuvenate you.”
TURN OFF THE NEWS
A constant stream of information often serves only to compound feelings of helplessness.
“Take stock of your life,” Dr. Groat suggests. “You may discover you have a new set of priorities now—your health, your personal relationships, the way you see others. When put into a different financial situation, people often discover a new way of life that’s in accordance with a different set of resources.”