The big 2008 question: Just how much is the sky falling and stress rising?
"10 to 16 million are suffering terribly due to their debts," says Paul J. Lavrakas, a research psychologist involved in a recent AP-AOL survey -- a number which is up 14 percent higher compared to 2004.
Among the people reporting high debt stress:
44 percent had migraines or other headaches
29 percent suffered severe anxiety
23 percent had severe depression
51 percent had muscle tension, including pain in the lower back
Basically, stress chemicals wreak physical havoc -- creating everything from a rise in blood pressure and heart rate -- to problems with memory, mood, digestion, even the immune system.
With this in mind, here are tips on bouncing back emotionally from financial stress -- so you can stay more focused on moving forward and upward.
1. Know that if you ask depressing questions, you'll 100% get depressing answers. For example: "Why didn't I . . .?" "What if . . .?" "Why me?" Would you accept those mean and nasty questions if they came from an outside source? Doubtful! You gotta stop 'em and swap 'em for questions which bounce you upward! "What can I do to move forward?" "How can I grow from this challenge?" "What's within my control to change?"
2. Shrink negativity into nuggetivity. Limit the amount of time you think negative thoughts to 3-minute nuggets, three times a day. Next use your talent at procrastination to your benefit! Whenever negative thoughts enter your head, tell yourself you must delay thinking them until your pre-set Nuggetivity Appointment. Who knows, maybe you won't even want to think negatively once this time swings around.
3. Recognize stress and depression deplete your entire health -- and are even considered by doctors to be "whole-body disorders." So, be especially conscious of eating healthfully. Add in extra mood boosting vitamins and supplements -- like SAM-e - which is a naturally occurring molecule produced in your body that regulates mood. When stressed, SAM-e gets depleted, increasing moodiness and irritability.
4. Walk yourself out of that bad mood. A well-known research study at Duke University showed that going for a brisk 30-minute walk three times a week is as effective as taking antidepressants to improve your mood. And they found that the group that exercised had more long-lasting benefits than those that took antidepressants. Why? Exercise increases the release of endorphins and the mood-enhancing neurotransmitter serotonin in the brain, the same chemicals that antidepressants manipulate to make you feel better.
5. Sing your heartache out. The Institute of Music, Health and Education has found that just 5 minutes of singing or humming can put you in a sunnier mood. The cathartic power of music and singing has been recognized for eons. Aristotle claimed: "When (people) have made use of the melodies which fill the soul with orgiastic feeling, they are brought back...to a normal condition as if they had been medically treated." Various religions throughout time have recognized how music helps people transcend dark emotions. Indeed religious leaders from around the world--who often can't agree on much of anything -- all concur on the cathartic power of music on the mind, spirit, and body. Some of my personally recommended musical boosters are...
"We Are the Champions"--Queen
"I Will Survive"--Gloria Gaynor
"Don't Worry Be Happy"--Bobby McFerrin
"I Can See Clearly Now"--Bob Marley
"In My Life"--The Beatles
"Imagine" - The Beatles
"Who Let the Dogs Out"--Baha Men
"Banana Boat Song"--Harry Belafonte
"Emotional Rescue"--Rolling Stones
"Simply the Best"--Tina Turner
"Like a Rolling Stone"--Bob Dylan
And you can gather more empowering Bounce Back Tips by clicking here....
Follow Karen Salmansohn on Twitter: www.twitter.com/notsalmon