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Economic stress busters
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There’s economic doom and gloom in the newspaper over breakfast, and more bad news on the TV with dinner: It can take a toll on your frame of mind and load you down with stress. But you don’t have to succumb to the negativity and fears over the current economy. You can control your response to it.
Step one is to look at your financial reality. Write down the amounts of all your monthly bills. Write down the balances you owe for credit cards and loans, down to the penny. Write down all your income. At that point you’ll know the true state of your finances, and knowing the truth is always better.
One of the most important things you can do in times of stress is guard your health. Stress can take a toll on your body and make you susceptible to illnesses, which are expensive.
Look for ways to reduce the amount of stress in your life. Here are some ideas:
• Get some exercise and release stress-busting endorphins. It doesn’t require an expensive gym membership. Build a snowman with the kids, go for a run or walk around the block. Even 15 minutes a day outside has health benefits, especially if the sun is out.
• Find things to laugh about. Like exercise, laughter releases endorphins.
• Bring out the old-fashioned board games. Dig out your old music and play it loud.
• Scour the entertainment section of the newspaper for free activities, and make a list.
• Go through the library’s magazine archive and pick out a few with topics that are new to you. Thumb through the magazines at breakfast instead of the newspaper you usually read.
• Get started on a vegetable garden. No matter what space you have, you can grow something. If you end up with surplus, donate it to the local food bank.
• Do something for others whenever you can. No matter your situation, there’s someone whose situation is worse.
• Build rewards into your week for both you and your family, whether it’s splurging on a cake mix or going to an event from your list of free and low-cost activities.
Look closely at what you can and cannot control in your life. While you can’t control the whole economy, you can control your little part of it and how you react to it.

Uffington does not personally answer reader questions, but will incorporate them into his column when possible. Write to him in care of King Features Weekly Service, P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, FL 32853-6475, or send e-mail to
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