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Health & Balance

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Your 9-Point Health Bailout Package

Stressed by the Economy? Don't Let It Wreck Your Health

6. You just want to go home and shut the door. continued...

"But the other side of the coin is that when people are isolated, they tend to get stuck in their own thought patterns, and sadly, when you get stuck in your own thought patterns, it makes it much harder to socialize, so you want to be more isolated, and that makes you more stuck in your own though patterns... a vicious cycle," says Raison.

"One of the great ways to cope with stress is to have meaningful positive social connections," says Raison. That doesn't mean that a little alone-time is a bad thing. It's just a matter of balance.

Also, think about the people you're spending time with -- will they make you feel better or feed your fear? "Surround yourself with the right people who can actually be soothing and helpful and can be anchors in a storm for you," Ruge suggests.

7. You're angry about the financial crisis.

That's understandable, but seething anger can be bad for your heart.

"Practically everybody is feeling the heat" from the financial crisis, says Diwalker Jain, MD, FACC, FRCP, FASNC, a professor of medicine and director of nuclear cardiology at Drexel University's medical school.

Anger may be riskiest for people with heart disease and angry, hostile, or type A personalities, Jain notes.

"It is likely that the people who already have a pre-existing heart condition and are prone to be angry or hostile or type A behavior, they are more likely to be adversely affected by all this news," Jain says.

His advice: Look for healthy ways to channel your anger. That might include working out to blow off steam or lobbying for changes you think the system needs.

"As a cardiologist, I can't say, 'Don't get angry,' because this anger is very appropriate. But all I can say is this anger can affect their heart, particularly if they have heart disease," Jain says.

Also, if you have chest pain, palpitations, or shortness of breath, call 911; don't just talk it up to stress. "You don't want to take a chance," says Jain. And if the economic crunch is making it hard to pay for your medicines, Jain suggests talking to your doctor to see if lower-cost generic drugs might be appropriate.

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