THE BLOG
11/11/2008 05:12 am ET Updated Nov 17, 2011

Bring Your Anxiety Back to Normal So Your Thinking Can Be Clear

The Theater has gone dark on the financial dramas of the past week. Much of what we will see if we glue ourselves in front of our computers, TVs and blackberry's this weekend will be, speculation on what is going on behind closed doors and reruns of this past week. For two days at least we will not be able to watch as the markets do their nose dives toward numbers no one has seen in their careers, flutter back to something recognizable, plummet again then breathlessly rebound to recover part of what they have lost. For two days, three in America, the markets and their dizziness are in an enforced state of R&R.

We should be, too.

The brain and body, just like the market needs time to absorb and process information. When we go on overload, our body goes into a fear state designed for very specific purposes. As we get scared our fight/flight kicks in; our body spurts adrenaline, our hearts speed up, our muscles have an increased blood supply and our thinking brain temporarily shuts down. The thinking brain shuts down so that we can flee for safety or stand and fight without thinking getting in the way, so that we can act fast, a split second could mean the difference between life and death so nature evolved the fear system to respond independently of the thinking system.

But we aren't living in the wild any more and we depend more on our thinking than brawn or speed to get by in our modern world. We need our thinking to be clear now more than ever as we go into one of the most complicated financial moments in history; we need clear heads. So use this weekend to relax and return to normal, to get out of the fear brain/body and into an emotionally regulated brain/body so that your thinking mind can come back on board and your fight/flight fear system can relax and breathe again.

If you are fighting more than usual, if you have a sudden urge to just take off or if you are being screamed at by clients or family members who are displacing their rage and anxiety over finances onto whatever is closest at hand keep in mind that we're all scared.

Advice? Use this weekend to relax so that your body can settle down enough to come out of this fear state and return to normal.

How? Serotonin is one of the body's natural mood stabilizers also known as a natural antidepressant. Research studies in at least three different countries make it clear that exercise, which releases serotonin in to the body, is as effective at managing depression as medication if done for about an hour four times a week or more. Take a brisk walk, go for a run, head for the gym, hike, canoe enjoy nature and the great out doors this weekend.

What other activities release the body's natural mood stabilizers? Hot baths, journaling, sharing feelings with friends, relaxation, meditation, regulated breathing and spiritual reading

If you don't take a break form the constant barrage of fear inducing news, you run the danger of keeping yourself in that fear state and going into the next week depleted rather than refreshed. There will be no Wall Street trading going on this weekend, the news that will be critical to the financial markets is being made, as we speak in Washington and we can check in periodically. Read enough news to satisfy yourself that you are staying abreast of current events, you can get all the latest through the internet, but stay away from reruns of doomsday scenarios and listening to pundits who aren't even pundits. Because even the real pundits are struggling to figure out what's going on.

Understand that if you are in a fear state you risk making poor decisions and you put your health and relationships under a kind of stress that will only complicate your life further.
Take a break, take it now, it will all be here when you return.

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