Many therapists encourage people to write down their worries and responsibilities before they go to bed, which can keep them from dwelling on them while they are trying to sleep.
They also encourage people to try to take action or make decisions in areas where they have some control, like deciding whether it is affordable to send the children to camp this summer or deciding to cut back on dinners out or other expenses. And doing what one can to address financial problems or develop new job skills can make a person feel better able to handle economic uncertainty.
“On the one hand, I’m trying to activate them to make decisions,” said Dr. Alan A. Axelson, a Pittsburgh psychiatrist who is co-chairman of the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health, a program of American Psychiatric Foundation. “On the other hand, I’m trying to say hold on, take some time, let’s really make some good decisions.
“Differentiate between real problems and making that problem worse by complicating it with other issues, such as a destructive relationship or using alcohol and drugs. That makes it worse. I always say there’s no situation so bad that you can’t do something to make it worse," he said.
Experts recommend people who need further assistance seek help and guidance therapists, clergy members, primary care doctors, workplace counselors or other professionals.
Here are a number of Web sites with additional information:
Getting Through Tough Economic Times, from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, part of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Managing Your Stress in Tough Economic Times, from the American Psychological Association. Employee Personal Financial Distress and How Employers Can Help, from the Partnership for Workplace Mental Health of the American Psychiatric Foundation.