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Some workplace management professionals asked me for an article on dealing with financial stress and the near-hysteria about the sequestration.

I didn't have a suitable one, so went searching. I found this article and have permission to reprint it. I hope it helps. You can print this page if you like and use it, if it is used in its entirety. This article is pretty good because it has a lot of comprehensive information and practical stuff in it.
Coping With Financial Stress - A Top 10 List
By http://ezinearticles.com/?expert=David_Hoza  David Hoza

While the best solution for financial uncertainty is financial security-solid assets, secure income stream and clear sailing-we aren't always that fortunate. In uncertain times, relying on our kneejerk reactions and material solutions for arriving at a sense of security doesn't always guarantee security will show up at the time we demand. We need to recognize that riding a sea of uncertainty filled with big question marks doesn't mean we have to put our emotional or psychological security on hold.

In fact, we may be in a uniquely ideal place to remember other sources of de-stressing, and make these more impactful. Having a sense of security, calmness and de-stressing aside from a certain financial picture offers us the capacity to remain emotionally intelligent, to keep the best problem solving and solution making mind available and vigilant, and to continue to enjoy life and make our social circles secure and enjoyable for others. This keeps our quality of life high and our psychological health buoyant regardless of the financial picture with which we are coping.

The following top 10 list of ways to cope with financial stress runs the gambit of examples from material to abstract solutions such as physiological relaxation and cognitive re-thinking. My intention is to offer an array of examples so that your own personal choices can reflect natural inclinations. Relaxation is key to emotional intelligence, good problem solving, solution making and psychological wellbeing for yourself as well as family members and friends. Put together a conscious stress awareness and management program, if your auto-pilot program is not optimum.

Top 10 list for Coping with Financial Stress

1. Material: Ideally, the fight or flight mechanism responds literally, by extinguishing the threat. This mechanism is a holdover from our primitive brain, but it still serves us, and if a material solution is available, it may be the way to go. Solidify secure assets, guarantee as far as you can a secure and sustainable income stream, and maintain a substantial savings.  Consult a financial expert you can trust and utilize their advice.

2. Cognitive: Recognize that when lots of uncertainty is swirling around us, in conversations, the media, and the fall of our psychic symbols of security, our tendency is to experience more stress. When we experience more stress, we tend to worry more (a possible venting mechanism), we tend to think in terms of worst  case scenarios, and we tend to get hooked on this thinking. I see this as possibly a way the fight or flight mechanism is trying to get us to extinguish the threat. But we have a host of perceptive information that reinforces security, relaxes the mind, frees our emotions from the grip of anxiety, and lets us return to confidence, optimism, and security. These images, circumstances and objects could literally be anything. What are the top 10 people, experiences, objects or images where you experience a heightened sense of calm, contentment, or security?

3. Tune Out: Shifting our perceptions away from the news, from cognitive overload due to the uncertainty, gloom and doom that seems to be the only news, frees our mind to focus on tasks, goals, interests, fulfillments and fascinations that exist independent of financial guarantees. These are hard to access if we remain tuned in and hyper-vigilant to the next indicator reinforcing the certainty that uncertainty is upon us.  Even if your job is to attend to the market fluctuations and to assess financial news, your job is also to facilitate your psychological health and emotional wellbeing. This means detaching from financial concerns and recognizing that there are other places where you derive your sense of security, psychological and emotional wellbeing. Such a practice is necessary for you, your immediate family, and the health and wellbeing of your social circles. Do your job!

4. Relax: Setting a time and place daily where you relax, let go of thoughts, analyses, worries, task and goal related cognitive work and the like is critical for opening up the relaxation response. Is your anxiety driving your thinking? Then you are probably working habitually out of the fight or flight response, and its attendant stress hormones, memories and neurochemicals. Is your thinking your best bet for attaining a solution that puts a problem to rest and allows you to relax at the end of successful goal attainment? Then you are probably good at using the fight or flight mechanism to attain your goals, like a type A personality may be. But you need to become aware of your relaxation response, which does not need goal attainment or a material fix to activate. It helps to have an environment that induces relaxation, it helps to have a ritual or habit that induces relaxation, and it helps to let go of the thoughts that tend to be triggered by habit, memory and the hormones and neurochemistry of stress, even good stress. Relax your mind.

5. Reinforce: Spend time with people, pets, experiences, out in nature, on your boat, with your hunting buddies, your hobbies, fishing, curling your hair or whatever you do where you get that sense of relaxation, contentment, joy, fulfillment, all those possibilities that exist for rejuvenation. All too often we get too serious about solving problems that take time to solve, and become dedicated to worrying or taking action 24/7 until security returns to us. All those places and times we passively experience calm, relaxation, fulfillment, enjoyment, even happiness and love are places we all too easily forget and de-prioritize. State dependent memory robs us of access to the emotional and psychological wellbeing these places provide, and the easiest way to regain access to this storehouse of psychological security is to go and visit these places-whether physically or by recollection, make them conscious again, return them to short term memory, and cross-network this part of our awareness with our present day circumstances.

6. Re-think: One of the most difficult experiences to change is the shift from thoughts that stress can bring up to thoughts more realistic or appropriate to your situation. Stressful thoughts can dominate your thinking, and changing them is difficult because they are emotionally wired into the process. Anxiety, fear, or doubt can reproduce a potent, narrow, deeply embedded, old stream of thought. We don't actually correlate awfulizing, what-if-ing, or 'worst case scenario = reality' with hunger, fatigue, anxiety, fear, or the like, but hormonally, neurochemically and physiologically we can find this thought stream produced outside of life narrative. Let me put this another way. If you have an aching back, haven't eaten all day, or are stressed from the little things in life, you can have the right physiological circumstances for triggering stressful thoughts, though we usually think of it the other way around. Check the validity of your thoughts.  If you are exercising fear thinking, label it. If you are awfulizing, label it. If you are dwelling on the idea that the worst case scenario is inevitable, label that, and let it go. The fight or flight system works on identifying a threat-real or imagined-and extinguishing it or moving away from it. Thinking outside this box allows us to identify subliminal causes of stress as well as to more accurately assess the situation and coach ourselves into creative, option-possible solution-making. Or, we may decide to just let it go and return to the present moment.

7. Use relaxation techniques:
My current favorite is to have a file of nature images from my favorite trips out into the mountains, desert or shore, and use this as a screensaver. When my screensaver comes up, memory is triggered, access to the emotions associated with those places is re-established, and instead of returning to a worry program, or waiting for someone to offer me an optimism program, I am running a contentment program. Your favorite may be the last time you spent with friends, with pets, at your favorite urban setting, your parents', grandparents', or own home. While you may have to spend 20 minutes or more relaxing in front of these kinds of images to reduce clenched anxiety to a moderate level, or may have psychological obstacles to relaxation, and might benefit from a therapist or other professional intervention (which I highly recommend if anxiety is intense and persists, or drastically interferes with work or relationships), for most of us this is healthy, wealthy and wise.

8. Be aware of alternate relaxation techniques: Meditation, yoga, exercise, spending time in nature, a massage, casual dining, even a bubble bath for some of you will be sufficient to shift out of stress mode and into relaxation mode. Cognitive re-thinking in stressful circumstances of crowding, waiting in line, waiting for service or waiting for action from others can be very valuable in keeping other stressors and their impact to a minimum. Making a list of activities and things to focus on that tend to offer us relaxation enhances our sense of self empowerment and further creates an independent form of relaxation aside from the literal 'financial security = relaxation' strategy our psyche all too often falls back on.

9. Know yourself: Know when and how you tend to get stressed and react to stress. In times of heightened uncertainty or resonant stress-like 911, Hurricane Katrina or the current uncertainty on Wall Street-we have an added level of baseline stress that may be affecting us. This means when we are hungry we may fly off the handle, when we are not getting exactly what we want when we want it (evidence of security and control) we may be prone to venting, to reacting in a way that protects our sense of security, or that extinguishes a psychological threat the way we would a literal threat. Know what tends to relax you, and make the little things-like reinforcing thoughts and feelings that relax you in a low level stressful situation-a part of a regular, conscious practice.

10. Recognize the spectrum: If you relax your body, this impacts the volume of stress hormones and neurochemicals being dumped in your bloodstream and activating your stress memories and reactions. If you relax your mind you tend to veer away from memories that trigger stress physiology and neurochemistry. If you replace your emotions with emotions that are out of the calm-love array, you affect your thoughts and the tension in your body. If you remove the cues that cause you to worry or that trigger anxiety, or if you spend quality time in environments that que relaxation, enjoyment, security, satisfaction, contentment, and love, you affect your mind, body and emotions.

While you may not escape worry, anxiety or frustration, take the time to find and access routes to relaxation, contentment and security outside of the material fix. Your health and wellbeing depend on it, as does the health and wellbeing of family, friends and social circles. Have a great day.

The book De-Stressing the Workplace: A Guide for the Service, Blue and White Collar Workplace is now available. View ordering information, contents and an excerpt: [http://diamondpointcoaching.com/thebook.aspx]

David M. Hoza worked for 26 years in the service industry, including 10 years in the Restaurant and Hospitality industry in an international ski/tourist destination town, in all levels of roles. He has also owned and operated a service industry business. Since 2005, Dave offers organizational consulting and presentations with an emphasis on organizational relationships and stress awareness and management. [http://www.diamondpointcoaching.com/]

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?Coping-With-Financial-Stress---A-Top-10-List&id=1532722 Coping With Financial Stress - A Top 10 List


Article Source:
Coping With Financial Stress - A Top 10 List

Daniel Feerst, Publisher
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