Recession Anxiety – Financially Frazzled and Physically Fractured by the Crash

We are now “officially” in a Recession says financial experts from our government and from Wall Street. Most of us have known for quite some time that our economy is sick and that there is a sense of desperation in the media, at work, and in our family’s conversations. What many of us do not realize is that this massive amount of financial and emotional insecurity is taking a huge toll on most of us. Levels of anxiety are raising dramatically with each new financial forecast and every “breaking story” from the media regarding the demise of our banking system, manufacturing sector, financial institutions, retirement plans, and employment opportunities. Are you feeling it, or are you still in denial?

Take this brief assessment. In the past 3 months, have you experienced any of these symptoms of financial anxiety? (Any of these symptoms can indicate that the stress from financial uncertainties may be impacting you in negative ways.)

Insecurity (or Fear) about your investments, career, or job
Insomnia (getting to sleep, waking up, having difficulty returning to sleep, or waking un-rested)
Anxiety and negative ruminations (being fixated on negative news and events)
Feeling a “lack of control” over money or work
Headaches-Neck aches-Backaches (and generally tight muscles)
Nervous Stomach- appetite changes (not hungry o craving food)
Fear or anger (even rage) closer to the surface
Higher Blood Pressure, rapid or irregular heart rate
Impatience – Rudeness
Loss of Focus – Accident Prone – Poor Decision Making
Increased Illness
Increased Substance abuse-drugs, medication, food
Increased cravings of Caffeine or Sugar (yes, even chocolate)
Living in the Past (the Good Old Days) or Fearing the Future (the unknown)
Fun and Happiness are Down – Quality of Life is poor
A Loss of Hope…

Perhaps you have experienced some “social isolation” or embarrassment about your financial situation. It is difficult to discuss this and you may be feeling alone or isolated. This can lead to depression. You feel that you have no where to turn and no one to talk to about your fears and situation. Your self-image may feel crushed. Low levels of anger and hostility may lurk just below the surface and your increased sensitivity may make you feel like you are about to “snap.” We often are feeling completely overwhelmed. We may be fearful of the “what ifs” and know that we may have challenges with supporting aging parents or our children in college.

We are experiencing the “Global Warming” Meltdown of our financial systems with potentially irreversible damage to our psyche as we experience the loss of trust in financial services and our employment/career plan.

By knowing how these financial challenges have affected you, and avoiding the survival mechanism of denial, you can begin to work to minimize, if not eliminate, the negative spiral down into financial anxiety. There are things that you can do to change the way that you are responding to the negative news. Though you may not be able to control all the difficult situations, you do not have to be an emotional victim to habituated fear responses.

Before we describe the positive alternatives that you can employ, let’s look briefly at the “Silver Lining” in this dark cloud of financial anxiety.

1. This recession has caused many of us to “SLOW DOWN” and pause to reflect on priorities in our lives.
2. We may be required to “Simplify” which is not always a bad thing.
3. We may have to find our Creativity and celebrate our productive efforts even in making (rather than buying” holiday gifts.
4. We are confronted and are affected by Empathy for others and this can bring out our generosity and connect us with other people in a positive, giving way.

To get back in control during these challenging times, we must invest time and energy in taking care of ourselves. Regular exercise/activity, eating well, regular stress management, and simplifying our expectations are all components of a self care plan that can assist us in gracefully surviving this difficult time. Though it takes time and energy to do these things, it will save you time and energy in the long term. There are Ten Timely Tips available for you at the “articles page” at the Stress Education Center’s website. If you wish to review our program for controlling panic and anxiety then read the article at the “articles page” of the website. I hope these articles are helpful to you.

The challenge we all must face in these uncertain financial times is whether we want to wallow in this financial anxiety or if we wish to take a more positive direction and break away from being an emotional victim to the negative financial news.

Please take good care of yourself. If you require any additional support please consider the information, products, and services available at the Stress Education Center website.