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Heart Health Center

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10 Ways to Protect Your Heart From the Tolls of Recession

Healthy Diet, Exercise, Relaxing Techniques Can Go a Long Way in Reducing Ill Effects of Economy-Related Stress

5. Watch out for recession depression

Even if you have not previously been vulnerable to depression, watch for its symptoms during these trying times. Depression affects not only your outlook but also your heart health.

"Depression is a marker that the brain and the body have gone into a state that increases your risk of disease," says Emory's Raison.

It's only natural that bad news gets us agitated and anxious, causing our blood pressure to rise and our arteries to "clamp," Raison says. "You have a fight with your wife, this happens. You lose your job, this happens."

These times that try men's and women's pocketbooks are much like that, Raison explains.

"We're all affected to some degree, and it emotionally brings it closer to (each of) us," he says.

Thus, it's important to keep a watchful eye for signs of depression, not only in yourself but in family members and significant others.

Because men are often reluctant to seek help for depression, men who have been laid off should pay special attention to signs of depression.

What to watch for?

Prolonged sadness; a loss of interest in things that typically bring joy; sleeplessness; anxiety; loss of concentration. If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your doctor about possible depression and options for treatment, such as antidepressants and talk therapy.

If you are having suicidal thoughts, seek immediate help.

6. Limit the booze

It may be tempting to drown our sorrows in libations, but it’s not very wise in the long run.

First, remember that alcohol is a depressant. Second, it adds extra calories. The list goes on. And remember that it costs money that you could spend on something good for your body.

Although studies have shown that alcohol in moderation can promote heart health, remember that more is not better.

7. Establish a routine

Having a routine during the recession helps your health by bringing peace of mind and lowering your stress hormones.

“When you are used to a routine, you can minimize your risk,” Gandy says. Facing a foreclosure or being laid off makes us feel out of control. When we do things that help us feel in control, such as having a routine, we feel better.

Also, a routine is particularly important for those who have been laid off, Gandy says. When workers suddenly become nonproductive, they often experience a profound sense of loss that can lead to depression. Having a routine, as well as a plan for how you are going to find work, is essential.

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