These are tense times for anyone. People are losing their jobs and unable to replace them. Prices are rising. Those who have jobs are in constant fear of losing them. Just hearing the news about the current economy can be stressful. If these stressors are not managed properly, they can cause anxiety which at times can be crippling to a person. Dealing with anxiety caused by the situation in our economy is important for survival as well as health reasons. Here are some suggestions to help prevent you from being overcome by anxiety in these challenging times.
What causes anxiety? Anxiety is the body’s response to a real or perceived threat. It is commonly called the body’s “fight or flight” reaction. A person can either stand up and fight the threat or run from it. It is a survival instinct found in all creatures including humans. Threats can either be physical such as an assault from a thief or non-physical such as fear of losing a job. Regardless of whether the threat is physical or non-physical, the body secretes adrenaline in order to intensify physical ability for fighting or running. While adrenaline is necessary for the occasional threat, it can be harmful to your health if you are experiencing this fight or flight response daily. An anxiety attack oftentimes manifests itself as heart palpitations and shortness of breath. It can also exhaust you both physically and mentally.
One way to deal with the economy is to evaluate how it affects only you. During tough economic times, the news programs on television are filled with gloom and doom predictions. Understand that television news shows often sensationalize the current economic troubles in order to boost its viewer population. Turn the television off and take an assessment of your situation and not the situation of everyone else.
Once you have assessed your situation, make a plan. Your plan could include things like paying down your credit card or opening a savings account. If you have been recently laid off, you might make a plan to not only find a new job but create ways for you to make money in the interim. Maybe you need to spend time to make a budget to help manage your finances. If you have the resources available to you, speak with a financial counselor or research tips on your own. When you make a plan, implement it, and adjust it when necessary, it puts you more in control and fights against that helpless feeling which can cause anxiety attacks.
Take care of your health in this situation. Doing this helps to keep your nerves calm naturally. Some people turn to alcohol and heavy smoking in an attempt to self-medicate their anxious nerves. Other people respond differently by sleeping too much or becoming generally lethargic and doing nothing at all. When you have good health, your body can deal with stress much better. You should exercise, eat right, and get enough sleep. Getting enough sleep is especially important because, without enough, your mind can perceive stressful events as bigger than they really are. Lack of sleep affects neurotransmitter activity in the brain which can alter a person’s perception as to the seriousness of a problem.