How to Stop Worrying, Even in a Recession

3 steps to breaking the cycle of stress that hurts your work, family, and health.


Maybe you have a good job. Maybe you have money in the bank, under your mattress, or buried in a very deep hole in your backyard. But even if you do, it's still hard not to get caught up in the general tenor of the economic times—and start to worry.

Worry at night. Worry in the morning. Worry all day long.

Worry distorts your vision of reality. And it interferes with your work, your family life, and your health. Which only makes you worry more.

It's contagious, too.

So here are three simple steps to fight worry:

One: Worry profoundly. Dive into your worry. Think it through, thoroughly.

Two: Do something. Take concrete steps to deal with the worry. If bills are what keep you up at night, get a second job, have a yard sale, turn the thermostat down to 60—you know, the old spend less/earn more paradigm. If the concern is your job, make sure you are working up to your full ability and start to spiff up your network/résumé, "just in case."

Three: Then stop. The next time you start to worry, tell yourself this: "I already worried about that, and I've done all I can do to deal with it. I can do no more."

Then hug your spouse, child, or pet, phone a friend, take a walk, go for a bike ride, or pick up a good book.

One thing you never have to worry about: Many great pleasures are still, and always will be, free for the taking.

Karen Burns, Working Girl, is the author of The Amazing Adventures of Working Girl: Real-Life Career Advice You Can Actually Use, to be released by Running Press in April 2009. She blogs at