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    Coping During Difficult Economic Times

    This health tip is brought to you by Richard Bowdle, M.D., board-certified Psychiatrist and Medical Director of Sutter Center for Psychiatry.

    It’s no wonder with the housing market collapsing, loss of jobs and plummeting stock market that people are going through an emotional rollercoaster. A poor economy affects everyone in some way which can leave people feeling depressed or anxious. While you may not be able to control the economy there are positive things you can do to help you and your family during this difficult time.

    Identify your financial stressors and make a plan – revisit your budget and look for ways to reduce expenses. If you are approaching retirement and your 401K has decreased in value, contact a financial advisor.

    Be tuned into what is going on but don’t dwell on it – listen to the news, read the paper and monitor your investments but don’t obsess over it and get caught up in negative conversations about the economy or look for people to blame.

    Dealing with anxiety and depression – resist the temptation to indulge in unhealthy activities such as smoking, drinking alcohol or drugs to make you feel better. During this difficult time you need to take extra care of your body which will help your mind and spirit feel better. Eat a healthy diet rich of fruit and vegetables and exercise - preferably outside in the fresh air.

    Connect with people – if you have been laid off, this is not the time to put your head in the sand. More than ever, this is the time when you need to network with family, friends and business contacts. Actively looking for a job will help you feel empowered.

    Focus on the positive – Instead of being disappointed about not going out to dinner as often, embrace the opportunity to try new recipes. If you’re quitting the gym as part of your action plan to reduce expenses maybe you and a friend can enjoy bike riding together. There is even a silver lining to being laid off - you can spend more quality time with your family.

    If depression or anxiety continues for a lengthy period of time or worsens, schedule an appointment with your doctor or a therapist.