New Stock Market Terms Provide Laughter...but Stress Is Real
I get e-mails all the time from my well-intentioned friends who want to provide a bit of merriment in the face of serious moments. Well the newest comic relief is making the rounds and they are indeed, quite funny - new definitions for old financial terms:
CEO - Chief embezzlement officer
Standard & Poor - Most of our lives, in a nutshell
Financial planner - A guy whose phone has been disconnected
Cash flow - The movement your money makes as it flows down the toilet
But to the thousands, even millions of people trying to cope with increasingly difficult financial times, comic relief is but momentary - then you have to come back and face your reality. And that reality is stressing a lot of people.
Stress affects health and it does so in a variety of ways:
Headaches, back or neck pain
Indigestion in the form of constipation, diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome
Lack of libido/energy
Inability to focus or concentrate
Eating too much or not at all
Weight gain or weight loss
Chronic stress can take an already problematic health picture and make it worse. It can intensify depression or anxiety; it can worsen arthritic pain; make asthma worse; cause blood pressure fluctuations; cause more complications in the face of heart disease; make blood sugar control and stabilization more difficult. If you are stressed, you have plenty of company.
So what can you do - in the moment and beyond - to manage your stress?
(1)Don't ignore signs of stress - whether physical or emotional in nature, your body will give you warning signs when stress is escalating and causing a negative impact. Call your doctor or speak to a mental health care provider.
(2)Don't allow yourself to get "overloaded" - especially with constant bad news and headlines - you can easily get swept up in the negativity and be ripe for chronic stress
(3)Do proactively reduce worry and stress when you can, but "give it up" when things are simply out of your control - you can budget, you can refinance and consolidate, you can get financial advice -but you cannot prevent the next global financial debaucle. Some things are just out of your hands.
(4) Find some value or silver lining in the crisis - maybe you were living beyond your means and your hand is now forced to reckon with reality; maybe you are now inspired to volunteer or to be philanthropic because you realize there are others worse off; maybe you are now forced to find resiliency to cope with your situation; maybe you will now have to do with a bit less and you will find the joy in re-connecting with the smaller pleasures in life.
(5) Resist the temptation to fall apart, isolate or hide your fears - the healthiest way to deal with stress is to acknowledge it and then find therapeutic ways to cope with it - exercise, meditation and seeking help from a professional.
(6) Deal with today's problems - do not let stress snowball and escalate - take a given day and deal with the issues of the day. By breaking down your stress with a "one day at a time" approach, you can prevent overwhelming or chronic stress.