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ANXIETY - ANXIETY - HOW CAN WE SLEEP?

Each morning we wake up and immediately turn on CNBC or MSNBC to see how the stock market is doing, or hear news of the economy. We are witnessing unprecedented events unfolding before our eyes. We are dealing with the worst economic global downturn since the great depression.

We are worried about our job security, our 40l ks, our savings, our buying capacity, sending children to college, etc. etc. This constant anxiety can affect our work. "Anxiety creates cognitive distortion and can make it harder for people to concentrate and to process information" said Myra S. White, a clinical instructor at Harvard Medical School. The process of decision making is impaired and workers are more likely to make mistakes. Because they can't listen well, they may need to have instructions repeated to them several times. Workers will have shorter fuses and become more impatient. According to Margaret Wehrenberg, a clinical psychologist in Naperville, Ill and co-author of "The Anxious Brain," "Anxiety is living in the past or the future; it's not living in the moment." Therefore, work is bound to suffer.

Your body is also likely to suffer. Physical symptoms include a pounding heart, sweaty hands, headaches and indigestion. Anxious people tend to hold their breath and take shallow breaths, so concentrate on taking deep breaths, especially when you exhale.

What can we do about our growing anxiety over the world around us? We can depend upon the age-old remedies of yoga, meditation and exercise. Get out and take a walk. This can help dispel symptoms.

Another remedy recommended by Mrs. Wehrenberg is worry once, and do it well. Let me repeat that. Worry once - do it well. If you are going to worry, be systematic about it and get it over with. If you are concerned about your finances, meet with a financial planner and decide what steps you are going to take. If you are worried about losing your job, update your resume and lay initial ground work for a job search. If you are worried about losing clients, update your marketing and do some creative thinking about how the law is recession proof and certain areas seem to thrive in a weakened economy. Then, when you are feeling anxious, remind yourself that you have a plan, and focus on what you have instead of what you don't have.

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