Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Slumping Markets, Stressed San Diegans

With foreclosures at an all-time high, the unemployment rate increasing and the credit crunch squeezing pocketbooks, it’s not surprising that Americans are getting stressed out. In fact, mental healt

With foreclosures at an all-time high, the unemployment rate increasing and the credit crunch squeezing pocketbooks, it’s not surprising that Americans are getting stressed out. In fact, mental health professionals in San Diego are seeing an increase in their business because of the troubled economy. SDSU Backpack Journalist Amanda Strouse has the story.

San Diego psychologist Jeannine White says more people are coming to her for help with stress-related problems caused by financial concerns.

White: Many people are worried, which increases the feelings of stress and associated helplessness. People are insecure in their environment.

That insecurity is causing problems such as marital conflict, substance abuse, depression and anxiety, she said. White also sees some people dealing with their money problems by avoiding reality and using an emotional defense, such as denial. So, they might continue to spend the way they always had, making their financial situation even worse, she said.

White: Our economy is in a time of uncertainty. We are exposed to daily gloomy announcements. This information increases the feeling of insecurity.

Symptoms of Economic Stress

Some of the signs of the economy-related stress White is seeing include:

    * Disrupted sleep

    * Back and headaches

    * Problems breathing

    * Rashes

    * Fatigue

    * Poor appetite

Dealing with Economic Stress

 White says tough times also manifest themselves in the form of physical tension and eating problems. To combat that, she suggests:

    * Daily vigorous exercise for 30 minutes

    * Avoiding caffeine and alcohol

    * Spend more time with family and friends

    * Practice a faith if you have one

Reality Check

San Diego life coach Gabrielle Whitney says people should be more proactive in dealing with their stress by facing up to their problems and putting them in proper perspective.

Whitney: Not everyone has to be affected and maybe not to such a degree. Of course people will be impacted. But sometimes people get so caught up in it that they forget that it doesn’t have to necessarily become their reality.

People must remember the basics: to re-evaluate their budget, cut back on spending and take control of their finances, she said, adding that being stressed accomplishes nothing.

Whitney: Stress is never going to have a positive effect on one’s life. It won’t change the economy. And for most people, it won’t motivate them to do better things.

The more calm and relaxed a person is, she added, the better decisions they’ll make in the long run.